- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2000

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said at an on-line forum last night that she is not using her Senate race as a launching pad for a presidential run.
"I am interested in running for and winning a Senate seat where I can be a voice and a vote for the people of New York and the issues that I think are important and I've worked on for a lifetime," Mrs. Clinton said when she was asked the question during an on-line forum geared toward women. "I would intend to serve out my Senate term and do the very best job I could."
Mrs. Clinton fielded more than 15 questions at her debut on iVillage's Town Hall meeting.
Women from across the country submitted 5,000 questions and about 4,000 women tuned in to hear Mrs. Clinton speak.
She told her audience she wanted "more tax credits for elderly care."
She said she plans to push incremental health care reforms after learning "a lot of important lessons about what is possible and how to get things done in Washington" when her earlier massive effort at health care reform failed.
In the latest Marist poll, Mrs. Clinton and her likely opponent, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani were tied at 44 percent support among women and he was beating her 52 percentage points to 35 among white women.
"Nobody in New York has won in the memory of mankind without white women," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute, which first noted the discrepancy reported Dec. 22 in The Washington Times.
After more news reports about her failure to obtain the traditional 10-point lead with women that most Democratic candidates enjoy, Mrs. Clinton's campaign approached iVillage to appear on the candidates' forum.
Choosing the women's site may have helped her "soften her image" and "subtly remind women that she's a wife, a mother, a working woman, a career woman," independent pollster John Zogby said. "She has to do that. She has very high unfavorables."
When asked what she was doing to bolster her support from white women, she said she would "work very hard to talk about the issues that women talk to me about and to express my views about what I would do as a senator and to be available to work with anyone who wants to be involved in helping my campaign communicate clearly what these issues are."
Mrs. Clinton also fielded several questions about her hairstyle, how much sleep she typically gets and how she enjoys the first lady role.
But moderator Nancy Evans also asked her substantive questions on health care, education and several other issues sent in by women in New York and other states.
Many of the questions centered on women's roles, such as how to help stay-at-home mothers.
The first lady said as a senator she would "like to see more support through the tax code for women who make that choice."
At 8:30 p.m., an hour before her hourlong chat began, more than 50 visitors on the site's on-line message board both blasted and praised Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani.
"You can't exactly judge Hillary on Bill's extramarital affairs. That is wrong," messaged one of her supporters who went by the onscreen name of Cathytowne.
"Hillary just snaps her fingers and [former Democratic Senate candidate New York Rep.] Nita [Lowey] is history," said a Giuliani supporter who tagged herself sojournertruth. "At least women are safe to walk around the city today. That's a difference with some substance. What are Hillary's accomplishments?"
Mr. Giuliani expects to appear on the Town Hall forum at www.iVillage.com next month.

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