- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2000

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is moving her quest for female voters to the Internet as a way to shore up lagging support.
The New York Senate candidate plans to hold her first on-line town hall chat tonight on "iVillage.com," a Web site geared to women.
Talking about education, health care and other issues on the network, which sees 7 million visitors a month, could prove "very effective," pollster John Zogby said.
"She needs to do anything she can to shore up her support among working women and younger women," he said. "IVillage is particularly useful because it's a 'girl thing.' And it's tantamount to advertising and appearing on "Lifetime" and bonding woman to woman, not candidate to woman."
Women determined the winner in the last New York Senate race and they have voted more than men in every presidential year election since 1964, records show.
Mrs. Clinton, however, is lagging behind a Democrat's typical strong showing with women and her likely Republican opponent is beating her among white women the voters who populate the battleground region of upstate New York.
The popular Web site, where women share advice on issues as diverse as breast pumps to tax tips, already has hosted chats with Vice President Al Gore and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain.
"We're just really trying to become the nerve center for women and politics in 2000," said Hannah Pingree, the on-line producer for the year-old election portion of the New York City-based site.
When Mrs. Clinton's campaign approached them earlier this month about the chat, she agreed.
The town hall begins at 9:30 tonight during her campaign stop in Buffalo.
Moderator Nancy Evans will ask her questions about issues ranging from health care to taxes. Mrs. Clinton will then answer by telephone, while an assistant types her answers to be posted onto the site.
More than 1,000 visitors already have submitted questions, but visitors can log on at 8:30 to submit last-minute inquiries.
Some visitors already have been chatting about Mrs. Clinton's race against New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on the site's message boards. Mr. Giuliani has also been invited to hold a townhall chat.
A man who described himself as a "born and bred New Yorker" blasted Mrs. Clinton over the carpetbagging issue, saying "the great state of New York deserves a true New Yorker."
A woman from Mrs. Clinton's home state of Illinois said: "I wish she'd decided to run here."
About 80 percent of iVillage's visitors are women and their average age is 33, Ms. Pingree said.
Mrs. Clinton will not see the questions in advance, she said. Also, they will not necessarily include questions submitted at the prompting of Mrs. Clinton's own Web site.
Her campaign is also using its Web site to attract volunteers and advertise an upcoming "house party."
So far the campaign has attracted 2,000 volunteers on line. It is asking on-line supporters to send for details about a "teleconference house party" Mrs. Clinton is planning for Feb. 6.
In the latest poll by the Marist Insitute for Public Opinion, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani were tied at 44 percent support from women, with 12 percent undecided.
In 1998, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer beat incumbent Alfonse M. D'Amato with 59 percent of the women's vote, according to exit polls by Voters News Service.

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