- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Argentina’s first lady, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in her first televised interview since winning the country”s presidency, wished Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton well in her presidential bid and thanked her husband for helping her triumph at the polls.

Speaking on Argentina’s Todo Noticias network, Mrs. Fernandez denied President Nestor Kirchner had distorted the extent of inflation and promised to put a priority on creating jobs, boosting exports and bettering health care and education.

Mrs. Fernandez, a 54-year-old three-term senator, captured 45 percent of the vote Sunday, outpacing another woman, runner-up independent Elisa Carrio, by more than 22 percentage points. A dozen other candidates trailed in an unprecedented race in which women took the top two spots.

Official results published yesterday showed Mrs. Fernandez would take office Dec. 10 with a stronger grip on Congress than her husband has. The ruling coalition and its allies picked up 13 seats for 161 of 256 House deputies and added three Senate seats, with 44 of 72.

Mrs. Fernandez acknowledged in the interview late Monday that she admired Mrs. Clinton and noted frequent comparisons made between the two. Both are senators and lawyers who accompanied husbands from obscure state governorships as they rose to the presidency.

“I’ve been with her,” Mrs. Fernandez said, referring to a 2004 meeting with Mrs. Clinton in Boston that produced a photo of the two with big smiles.

“Everything seems to indicate that she is the favorite of the Americans” in the Democratic primary fight, Mrs. Fernandez said. “And why not? Another woman wouldn’t be bad.”

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