A: Well, the Obama campaign is telling people to send in that question. I’m going to release my tax returns when I’m the nominee. My entire ethics statement is on record at the Senate. I liquidated all of my holdings. I’m holding everything in cash so that there’s not even a question of conflict. But transparency is an important issue. And it doesn’t only go to your personal finances but Senator Obama has some questions to answer about his dealings with one of his largest contributors, Exelon, a big nuclear power company. Apparently he cut some deals behind closed doors to protect them from full disclosure in the nuclear industry. And we still don’t have a lot of answers about Senator Obama and his dealings with Mr. Rezko.
While Clinton has proved popular with the Democratic base in places like New York City, she is much weaker with the political center, the moderates and Independents in states like Ohio and Florida that she will need to win a general election. A daunting 42 percent of all Americans say they’d never vote for her for president.
When Republican types meet, the Hillary-chat is the same. Formidable candidate... shedloads of money... unrivalled name recognition... impressive job in the Senate... husband a big asset... great hairdo.
Among Democrats, you will find many who say she SHOULD be the next president-her admirers remain legion-but you will be very hard pressed to find many who say with confidence she WILL.
Early polls indicate that while she’s streets ahead for the Democratic nomination, she gets soundly beaten by all the most plausible Republicans. So, among Democrats the snatches of conversation are like this: Hated on the Left... impossibly high negatives... terrible performer in public... too much Bill baggage... awful pantsuits.
But Hillary’s newfound centrism focuses only on issues at the margins. She may attack sex on TV or call for more values in public life, but when the chips are down, she votes like a solid liberal, backing her party more than 90% of the time.
CLINTON: One of the issues I’ve been talking about is how we can get more of New York’s fair share. We have a chance to do that because we have a surplus. One of the biggest injustices is the Medicaid formula. I’ve come forward with a plan that would get us more money. I look forward to working with Chuck Schumer. I would be a vigorous proponent of what we need.
CLINTON: What it means to be a New Yorker is to be the best human being you can be, to do the best with your life you can do, to dream the biggest dreams, to demonstrate that we can make this wonderful patchwork quilt of a place not only work but show the rest of the world that people from different backgrounds and experiences not only can get along but build a better future.
Hillary’s had acuity of judgment that George Bush would be reelected unless the Clinton campaign could find a way to repel attacks and keep the attack machine silenced long enough to effectively trumpet the Clintons’ substantive message. Getting the public to listen to anything Bill said would be difficult because of what the press had become. Hillary saw the press as out of control, hell-bent on personal destruction and manufactured controversy, while ignoring serious issues.
The big story of the campaign, she feared, would was going to be Bill’s private life and hers, and a grotesque distortion of the Arkansas years. It is apparent in interview after interview that the guiding premise was: Keep them away from us and our private lives.
Consider this: If Hillary is nominated as the first woman ever to run for president, she is very, very likely to win. By maximizing her support among the 54% of the vote that is cast by women--and tapping into the enthusiasm that her husband elicits among African Americans and Hispanics--she is likely to sweep into office, easily defeating any conventional white male candidate the Republicans might send against her.
The Democratic Party cannot win without fully tapping all three pillars of its base: African Americans, Hispanics, and white women. A Hillary Clinton candidacy is particularly strong because of her appeal to all three bastions of Democratic power.
Why choose New York? Hillary confided that she’d investigated “some other states, but they have a number of qualified people running who had worked hard and long to be congressional candidates.”
Hillary said that the other thing that was appealing about a Senate run was that it would be a rare thing in American politics--a candidacy by acclamation. “I’m being drafted. It is so rare to be drafted in this way. the nature of politics is such that you have to seize the moment when and if it comes, or it may never come again.” She wanted to be wanted.
CLINTON: I am running for re-election. I have made no decisions about any future plans. If that’s a concern for any voter, they should factor that into their decision on Nov. 7. We need a new direction, and that’s what I’m going to focus on.
Q: So you can’t make that promise then today?
CLINTON: I’m not looking past this election. But I’m going to be very clear with the voters, I can’t make a decision now, but if that concerns any voter, they should factor that in.
Q: Are you saying don’t vote for you if that’s a concern?
CLINTON: No, I think they should vote for me, but they should balance that against everything that I’ve done, my record and my values.
SPENCER: I’m the only one standing here today that wants to be a US Senator for the next 6 years for the people of New York. I commit that I am not running for President and I will serve for 6 years.
“I think both campaigns have filed legal actions and we have the time to have those heard,” said Clinton, who endorsed Gore’s position in the dispute. “I believe that it certainly is important that every American have the confidence that his or her vote is counted and certainly in Florida there are questions about votes that haven’t been counted. I think those should be resolved,“ she said.
America’s government institutions, including the presidency, are ”strong and resilient“ enough to weather the current dispute, Clinton said. She added that Gore as well as his Republican rival, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, would ”certainly be able to hit the ground running“ after taking office.
LAZIO: Mrs. Clinton, that’s not totally accurate. Your people were up there working hard for that.
CLINTON: I’ve specifically said publicly that I wouldn’t take it if they nominated Pat Buchanan. It was up to them to decide what to do.
LAZIO: I condemned him and the fact that he has been intolerant.
CLINTON: You know, I can only respond because, you know, as The Forward said when they endorsed me, Jewish voters should reject smear campaigns and inaccurate information.
Q: Did you accept the Independence nomination?
CLINTON: That’s because it wasn’t offered.
LAZIO: No. It wasn’t offered to either one of us, to be fair about that.
LAZIO: It’s not a matter of personal dislike, [but] to point at the differences between candidates and the philosophy between two candidates.
Q: Do you dislike him?
CLINTON: No. I think that I have no personal animus at all toward Mr. Lazio. He seems like a very nice person.
Q: Well, name three things that you like about him.
CLINTON: Well, it seems like he has a very nice family. And that he has worked very hard. And that he’s an attractive young man.
Q: And you name three things you like about her.
LAZIO: Well, I think you’re an attractive woman. And I think you’ve got a very nice family. I’m sure you’re a very good mother as well.
CLINTON: Thank you very much. But that’s not what this election’s about. And what it is about are the very significant differences between us on everything like education and health care and the economy and the environment and guns and choice and Social Security and the budget surplus.
LAZIO: Mrs. Clinton’s last remark has to redefine the word chutzpah. Mrs. Clinton, you, of all people, shouldn’t try to make guilt by association. Newt Gingrich isn’t running in this race, I’m running in this race. Let’s talk about my record. Let’s lower taxes. Let’s deregulate energy. And let’s build on my work in Congress already to get the job done.
The role of Rosenberg in the life of Hillary has always been clouded. The first time Hillary mentioned her step grandfather publicly was in 1999, during her Senate campaign in NY. “I have nothing but fond memories of Max Rosenberg,” Hillary said. In Living History she wrote only that he was Jewish.
|Other candidates on Principles & Values:||Hillary Clinton on other issues:|
Newly elected in 2008 & seated in 2009:
Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:
Announced retirement as of 2010:
Up for 6-year term in 2010:
(13 Democrats; 15 Republicans)
Senate Votes (analysis)