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Hillary Clinton Reacts to Rudy Giuliani's Withdrawal from New York Senate Race

Aired May 19, 2000 - 3:27 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: I just finished speaking with the mayor. I called him at the conclusion of his announcement to wish him well, to tell him that I knew this was a difficult decision and I certainly hope and pray, as I know all New Yorkers do, that he will have a full and speedy recovery. And I appreciated very much the chance to express those feelings and thoughts to him personally.

You know, as I have said now for many months, this campaign is not about me or about any opponent, it is about the future of our children, our families, our state and our country. That is the common mission that I share with the people of New York. That is the mission that I will keep working toward, talking about and remaining focused on in the months ahead.

And I appreciate very much the opportunity that I've had and will continue to have to talk with New Yorkers about what they want in a senator and what they hope can be done to help them build better futures for themselves and their children.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, there's been some talk in the last week that suburban women that may have been backing Rudy Giuliani against you had turned away from him because of the way he handled his marital situation in particular.

Now that there will be another Republican in the race, are you concerned or worried that some of these women may turn back to that Republican instead of staying with you?

CLINTON: You know, I am not going to talk about the politics of the race or the campaign. There'll be plenty of time to talk about the issues and compare and contrast positions between me and anyone in the race.

I think, you know, today we all ought to just wish the mayor our very best, and let him know that the people of the city are, you know, all behind him in this very difficult decision that he's made, and that we all wish him a full and speedy recovery.

QUESTION: Could you assess Rick Lazio, who is likely to be your opponent now that Mayor Giuliani has dropped out of this race? CLINTON: You know, I am not going to assess anybody about any political possibility. I think we should just wait and see what develops. And no matter what does develop, I'm going to continue doing what I have done all these months, which is talking about where I stand on the issues and what I would do in the Senate to try to help the people of New York.

QUESTION: Mr. Clinton, can you tell us a little bit about what the mayor said to you during the conversation?

CLINTON: He thanked me for calling him. He reiterated some of what we heard him say in his announcement, that, you know, experiences like this really do focus one's mind on what's important and he had made this decision and he thanked me for calling him.

QUESTION: Ms. Clinton, what's been going through your mind in the last three weeks about all these kind of developments coming out of city hall?

CLINTON: You know, it has been something that I had no control over, and I knew that, and I just kept doing what I thought I had to do to run the most effective campaign I could no matter what happened. And I was very gratified by the huge event at the convention in Albany and the fact that we had such unity in the Democratic Party, and I really was, as I have been, focused on what I can do to get my message across about the issues and what's facing the state.

BOBBIE BATTISTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton reacting to the withdrawal of Rudy Giuliani from the Senate race today. And as you see, the headline right there, Representative Rick Lazio of New York says he will run for the New York Senate.

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