- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2000

NEW YORK Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday promised she will not run for president in 2004 but will serve her full six years as New York's senator.

At her first press conference as senator-elect, Mrs. Clinton told reporters that in coming months she will be fulfilling her duties as outgoing first lady while preparing to begin serving as senator.

She said her first congressional bill will address what she has for months called the lagging New York economy.

She said she will stress obtaining federal aid for impoverished areas.

The only first lady to win public office bounded into a cramped meeting room and thanked the media. It was an incongruous blessing, given the distance she kept from the press during her 16-month campaign.

Mrs. Clinton had spent a mostly sleepless night at the Grand Hyatt, where she held her victory party.

She reported fielding an array of congratulatory calls all night, including one at 5:30 a.m. from Vice President Al Gore.

The first lady on Tuesday defeated Rep. Rick Lazio 55 percent to 43 percent, a margin larger than most polls had predicted.

As a junior senator, Mrs. Clinton said she expects a "positive reception" in the Republican dominated Senate, although when her husband, President Clinton, was being impeached, she referred to some of those senators as part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

"I look forward to working with them on issues," said Mrs. Clinton, who said Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch called her early in the day to wish her well. "The issues I carry with me to the Senate are not Republican or Democratic issues. I absolutely believe we can build a consensus."

She added that with a Congress that will be nearly 50-50, "nobody will be able to pass anything without working with everybody. I have allies on both sides of the aisle."

Some of her views, though, are unlikely to ever be accepted by a Republican majority. Her positions on gun control and a woman's right to choose are examples.

"We have to stand our ground on those issues," she said.

Mrs. Clinton's campaign platform has focused heavily on her pro-choice views as well as on putting together an economic plan for New York regions that have lost population over the past decade. She calls it "targeted economic help."

Mrs. Clinton tomorrow will fly to several upstate New York towns for airport rallies.

Speculation already has begun on the degree of security Mrs. Clinton both requires and demands and how that will affect everyday life at the Capitol.

Her entourage invariably keeps the press at bay or in tightly contained areas. But at the Capitol, it is common to see the likes of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the man whose seat Mrs. Clinton will take, walking through the halls alone.

The first lady said she had not considered the degree of Secret Service protection she will use.

But, she added, "I don't expect to get this much attention after today. Being a senator is like any new job, and I'll be learning the ropes and the rules."

She added: "I think people felt I was accessible" during the campaign.

Mrs. Clinton will take office Jan. 3, although she said she has made no plans for living space in the Washington area.

The Clintons bought a $1.7 million house in Chappaqua, an upscale New York City suburb, last December.

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