- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 8, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. Hillary Rodham Clinton began the first day of her official Senate candidacy by saying she would put an abortion litmus test on judicial nominees.
In an interview with the Associated Press, the first lady said voting for a nominee with pro-life views would be unthinkable.
"I can't imagine I would vote to confirm such a nominee," she said.
Mrs. Clinton's expected Republican opponent, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who also is pro-choice, said Sunday he would not rule out backing a judge with pro-life views.
Mrs. Clinton breezed through Buffalo yesterday to tout her federally oriented economic agenda and raise money.
The first lady met with about 60 business people at the Advanced Training Center nonprofit group in New York's second-largest city.
Mrs. Clinton proposed that the federal government "double its investment" to train workers for high-tech jobs.
Her legislative agenda as senator would also include federal tax credits to encourage communities to develop high-speed Internet access and to entice high-tech companies to continue research and development.
While Mrs. Clinton focused on turning this ailing Rust Belt city into the "Buffalo Byte Belt," she also touched on farming during her speech at a nonprofit arm of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
"Agriculture still is New York's No. 1 industry and it is critical to the future of this state. A lot of our farms and farmers are really hurting these days," Mrs. Clinton told the group of high-tech workers and politicians.
"That's why I support efforts to strengthen the farm safety net including efforts to subsidize the cost of crop insurance and to target supplemental income assistance to farmers who are facing falling prices," she said.
In the AP interview, Mrs. Clinton sought to raise concerns that Mr. Giuliani was too bossy and abrasive to do well in the Senate.
"You can't show up in the Senate and demand that your 99 colleagues do what you tell them to do," she said. "You've got to be able to work with people one day who you may disagree with the next day."
But asked if she felt Mr. Giuliani had the wrong temperament, she said: "That is a question that the people of New York will have to ask themselves. I think I would be a very good senator for New York."
Mrs. Clinton also implied that Mr. Giuliani, who is from the liberal wing of the Republican Party, could not be trusted not to flip-flop once in the Senate.
"I've seen it time and time again people who claim to be independent, all of a sudden vote with the Republican leadership because if they don't, they don't get support raising funds for their campaigns, they don't get the committee assignments that they want," she said. "That's just the way that party operates."
After her half-hour Buffalo speech, several of the hand-picked guests said they were excited by Mrs. Clinton's visit but were not convinced they would vote for her.
Dennis Ball, a marketing specialist at an Internet company called Check.com, said he "possibly" would vote for Mrs. Clinton because he is "not a huge fan" of Mr. Giuliani.
Mr. Ball said he was "a little concerned" that her economic plan would raise taxes.
"I would prefer to cut services to lower taxes," he said.
Leaf Stutzman, the company's accounting manager, said she was holding off making a decision in the race until she heard "what Giuliani has to say."
Earlier in the day, Republicans were criticizing Mrs. Clinton for using Air Force planes.
"If she really wants to convince New Yorkers she's on our side, she will tell the families of this state exactly how much her travel has cost," Republican National Committee Co-chairman Pat Harrison said in a statement.
Ms. Harrison and Republican Reps. Sue W. Kelly and John E. Sweeney chartered a plane in Westchester County and flew to the same cities Mrs. Clinton will visit this week Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany to encourage Mrs. Clinton to do the same.
RNC spokesman Michele Stembler said the first lady's plane delayed their takeoff.
When Mrs. Clinton's sleek blue jet landed at Buffalo's airport, she met about two dozen supporters.
Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello and Rep. John J. La Falce, both Democrats, introduced her at the airport and the training center.
She was to attend a $500-per-person fund-raiser last night at the home of lawyer Herbert Siegel.

This article was based in part on wire service reports.

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