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Hillary Launches Long Island Plan

Politics: Chelsea Clinton joins her mother on campaign trail in N.Y. Latest poll shows opponent Rick Lazio pulling ahead in U.S. Senate race.

August 02, 2000|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Hillary Rodham Clinton took her U.S. Senate campaign to her opponent Rep. Rick Lazio's home turf Tuesday, launching a three-day swing through suburban Long Island with daughter Chelsea Clinton in tow.

For 20-year-old Chelsea, the appearances in Great Neck and Westbury marked the first time she has accompanied her mother on an extended campaign trip through New York.

"I love being here," the youngest Clinton said as she signed autographs after a speech by her mother in the picturesque village of Great Neck.

Chelsea Clinton plans to take the fall semester off from Stanford University, where she is a senior, the White House said last week, while her mother campaigns for U.S. Senate and President Clinton finishes up his last term.

"I love Stanford. I adore it," she told one man in the crowd. "But my family's here."

The first lady, visibly pleased as she introduced her daughter, took her case to Long Island voters while her Long Island born-and-bred opponent was attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

Agenda for 'Long Island Livability'

Of her daughter, Clinton said to reporters in Westbury: "She enjoys meeting people and I'm happy that people can get to meet her."

The first lady used the opportunity to introduce what she dubbed a "Long Island Livability Agenda," a package of programs, policies and positions that she said fits the needs and interests of those who live in the largely middle- and upper-class suburbs that stretch eastward from New York City.

"What I keep hearing over and over again is that people love living here and they want to make sure that the beauty of Long Island, the quality of life, remains for themselves and their children, and that to me is summed up in the word 'livability,' " she said.

Long Island, which includes densely developed suburbs, beach resorts and some pristine coastline, suffers from sprawl, congestion and other threats to the environment, a lack of affordable housing and pressures on health care and education, she said.

The agenda, featuring nothing she has not advocated previously, included tax credits for child care, elder care and college tuition; property tax relief; and establishment of a national teacher corps.

"I have spent a lot of time talking to people from Long Island who have given their best ideas to me, and I've synthesized those," she said. "It's right in line with what I've advocated for and worked for for many many years."

Lazio Pulls Ahead of Clinton in Latest Poll

Lazio, a four-term congressman from the area, was at his party's convention in Philadelphia, although he was not scheduled to speak or take a high-visibility role.

"My job is to get back to New York, that's where the votes are," Lazio said. "I'm not running for national office. I'm running to be the senator from New York."

Clinton's campaign staff, however, accused Lazio of trying to hide his Republican roots and argued he is more conservative than he has let on.

"Rick Lazio has been trying to run away from his record since he got in the race. Now he's trying to run away from his party too," Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a statement. "In Washington, Rick Lazio is proud to be a member of the Republican leadership, but in New York he tries to hide the fact that he's a Republican at all."

Lazio pulled ahead of Clinton in the latest public opinion survey, a Zogby poll released Sunday. It showed him leading Clinton 50 to 42 percentage points, with a four-point margin of error.

In Coral Gables, Fla., the president said his enemies had "transferred their anger" to his wife.

"Everybody that always hated me all those years and were so mean to me, they've all transferred all their anger to her now. It's almost as if they've got one last chance to beat me," Clinton told Fox Television affiliate WTVT in Tampa.

"I think if we can get this election again in a position where they just look at who's got the greatest strength, who's got the ability to do more and which candidate do they agree [with], I think she'll do fine," he said.

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