- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

PHILADELPHIA — Rep. Rick Lazio swept into the Republican National Convention yesterday with New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, interrupting the speak-no-evil convention with a few slams at first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"We've been here one day — probably longer than Hillary Clinton has been in New York," Mr. Lazio told the New York delegation during a morning brunch — which included a 10-minute standing ovation.
"The entire nation is looking at us. Let's show them that no one from Washington, Hollywood or Arkansas will select who our senator is going to be," he said to rousing applause. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to be lectured for the next six years by Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Later, the mayor and the Republican candidate for the open Senate seat in New York criticized Mrs. Clinton, who they see as a continuation of the Clinton-Gore administration.
"Character counts," Mr. Lazio said. "Voters are looking for honesty and integrity."
Meanwhile, President Clinton, who has acted as a surrogate attack dog during the convention because Vice President Al Gore is on vacation, said his enemies are shifting their hate to his wife.
"Everybody that always hated me all those years and were so mean to me, they've all transferred all their anger to her now," he said in an interview with Fox News in Tampa, Fla.
"It's almost as if they've got one last chance to beat me."
Mr. Lazio acknowledged that there is a connection between his campaign and George W. Bush's campaign against the vice president.
"We are effectively running against the White House and all that entails," he said. "The better we do, the worse it is for them."
The New York congressman also cirticized Mrs. Clinton's negative campaign tactics.
"I understand what Mrs. Clinton is trying to do," Mr. Lazio told CNN yesterday. He said the first lady wants to "talk about anything other than the New York Senate race, talk about anything other than the fact that she's yet to do one single thing for the people of the state of New York.
"It's Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton and we've both got to stand on our respective records."
Later, he said, "People on the other side would like to drag me down in the mud, but I will not go there."
A new poll has Mr. Lazio leading Mrs. Clinton 50 percent to 42 percent, while other polls show them in a dead heat.
New York Republican Party Chairman Bill Powers said the Clniton campaign has spent millions of dollars on the attack ads over the past few weeks, but he said the ads are backfiring.
"People don't trust her because she says one thing, then does another," Mr. Powers said. "Like saying she wants to run a positive campaign, then spending millions to attack Rick. But the families of New York see through it."
Mr. Lazio was asked to speak on the opening day of the convention, but declined so he could focus on his campaign, which began two months ago, after Mr. Giuliani dropped out of the race citing health conditions.
"I have a little over three months before Election Day. I am not running for national office. I'm running to be the senator from New York, and it is important for me to be able to communicate with the people and get back to New York, where I belong," he said during his one-day stop here.

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