- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2000

NEW YORK Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, the first lady's opponent in the U.S. Senate seat until he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, came to Hillary Clinton's defense yesterday, saying he believed her when she denied making an anti-Semitic remark during her husband's unsuccessful congressional run in Arkansas some 26 years ago.

"It has to do with people who maybe have some kind of anger at the president and Mrs. Clinton," said the mayor. "I understand that really well. Lots of people are angry at me. I should know I know about all the false, exaggerated and misused statements in books, and I sympathize with them over it."

Mrs. Clinton, who was in the city yesterday urging the expansion of health insurance coverage to children, endeavored to put the controversy behind her.

"I will not be distracted and I will not quit fighting until we are finally successful. But it will take all of us to be partners in this fight."

The mayor's defense came in the middle of a controversy surrounding remarks made by Mrs. Clinton in 1974 when her husband was losing a bid for a congressional seat in Arkansas. According to the just published book, "State of a Union" by Jerry Oppenheimer, Mrs. Clinton called one of her husband's aides "a Jew bastard" in an argument that has been widely reported but until now has never included mention of such a slur.

Mrs. Clinton and her husband, who rushed to her defense, denied she has ever uttered an ethnic or racial epithet.

There is little doubt the first lady's latest brush with Jewish voters is a serious threat to her candidacy. She has been widely criticized for her call for creation of a Palestinian state and her kiss and embrace of Suha Arafat after the Palestinian leader's wife accused Israelis of using poison gas against Palestinian families.

While major Jewish organizations have refrained from painting her as an anti-Semite, there is no question the report of such a remark, even though it may be unproven, has sent her campaign into an emergency mode.

The latest Quinnipiac College poll has Mrs. Clinton drawing 54 percent of the Jewish vote to 34 percent for Rick Lazio. Most political observers contend that she cannot win the race unless she has at least 60 percent of the Jewish vote.

New York newspapers and radio stations devoted substantial coverage to the flap. An editorial in the New York Times, titled "Mrs. Clinton's Credible Response," said it was "a sour coincidence" that Mrs. Clinton should be accused of slamming Jews while her husband is trying to broker a Middle East peace settlement at Camp David, but that if elected, the first lady would be a protector of Israel's security.

Writing in the Daily News the newspaper that the president called to deny the story about his wife Sidney Zion, a well-known supporter of Israel, said, "They love her in Tel Aviv, but she gets the fisheye in New York and that's on a good day."

In an editorial titled "The Clintons' Old Tricks," the New York Post said of the president's defense of his wife: "He's even suggested, with absolutely no evidence, that Mrs. Clinton's opponent in the New York Senate race, Rep. Rick Lazio, or other Republicans are behind the allegation."

A former Arkansas state trooper, Larry Patterson, said in an interview with Sean Hannity over the Fox News Channel (FNC) Monday night that he had heard both Clintons use anti-Semitic and racial slurs while he was assigned to guard then Gov. Clinton and his wife from 1989 to 1992.

In another interview on the FNC, Paul Fray, the former campaign aide who accused Mrs. Clinton of the slur, said he had no intention of hurting the first lady's Senate campaign and would like to sit down with her so that "we'll get everything resolved and this matter will go away."

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