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Sunday Morning News

First Lady Hillary Clinton Prepares to Announce Candidacy For New York Senate

Aired February 6, 2000 - 9:01 a.m. ET

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

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The president and Mrs. Clinton make a historic campaign appearance today, but the spotlight will fall on the first lady, not the president. She is officially announcing her run for the U.S. Senate from New York State.

We get more on the story now from CNN's John King in Purchase, New York.

Good morning, John.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Miles.

That's right, the president will be on hand today, but only in a supporting role. He will not speak, although aides say he did help the first lady write her announcement speech today. For six months, the first lady has been traveling around the state of New York, listening, is her view of that tour. Today, she formally enters this race for the United States Senate against the mayor of New York City, Republican Rudy Giuliani.

Now, Mrs. Clinton telling "The New York Times" in an interview today she hopes to reintroduce herself after those six months. And as part of that effort, not only her speech today but house parties across the state at which her campaign will show a new 18-minute biographical video prepared by some of Mrs. Clinton's Hollywood friends. This, part of her effort to reintroduce herself to the people of New York. The campaign also distributing 400,000 leaflets titled "Hillary: The Real Story."

Now, the latest polling shows Mrs. Clinton trailing, the Marist Institute poll showing Mayor Giuliani with 47 percent to 40 percent for Mrs. Clinton, 13 percent undecided at this point. And if you look across the state, its various regions, Mrs. Clinton ahead in New York City, 53 percent to 37 percent in the heavily Democratic city. In the suburbs, a key battleground, the mayor leading so far, 56 percent to 34 percent. Again, that will be an area of intense competition, the suburbs.

And in traditionally Republican upstate New York, they tend to have a skeptical view of New York City mayors, but the Republican mayor leading Mrs. Clinton there 50 percent to 33 percent. You will hear in the announcement speech today Mrs. Clinton hopes to make education and health care her number one concerns. Also, as her campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, says, she will make the case that the controversial mayor is too combative to serve in the United States Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD WOLFSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: New Yorkers wonder whether or not this is someone who could effectively serve in a body like the Senate, in which people have to get along. When the mayor is confronted with a problem or disagreement, his first instinct is to either fire someone or sue someone.

And you can't operate that way in the United States Senate. You can't sue your colleagues if you disagree with them. You can't fire your colleagues if you disagree with them. You have to be willing and able to disagree with someone on one day and work with them the next day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, the first lady describing herself as a moderate Democrat, noting her support for the balanced budget, her support for welfare reform and the death penalty, but the Giuliani campaign, according to manager Bruce Teitelbaum, will try to frame this as a race between a big-spending liberal, Mrs. Clinton, in his view, and a conservative mayor, Rudy Giuliani.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE TEITELBAUM, GIULIANI CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Mrs. Clinton believes in big government. Government is the solution to people's problems, first, second, and third. Mayor Giuliani believes the complete opposite. He believes that people should solve their own problems first and second, with help from the government when they need it. The mayor believes in smaller government, less taxes, giving more power to people. Mrs. Clinton believes in higher taxes, giving less control to people over their lives, more control to government.

And I think it's a very important philosophical difference between the two people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, this is the first lady's first run for elected office. She just recently moved into her house here in suburban Westchester County, and she is very busy now raising the $25 million her campaign believes will be necessary to mount an effective Senate race -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: All right. CNN's John King. Don't go too far away, because John will be joining us again in our second half hour to take your e-mail questions about Hillary Clinton's campaign. Now is the time to send them to us. The address on the Internet is wam -- W-A-M -- @cnn.com. We'll also be taking phone calls, and we'll give you a phone number in just a little bit.

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