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N.Y. Convention Nominates Mrs. Clinton

May 17, 2000|From Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — With thousands of supporters cheering in a packed sports arena, Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated for the Senate on Tuesday at the Democratic Party convention in her adopted state.

The nomination by the 352 delegates of the only first lady to run for public office was unanimous.

"Make no mistake, this election is not about me or my Republican opponent," Clinton said in a 38-minute address that ended with the theme from the movie "Chariots of Fire." "It's about the people of New York and our common mission."

The first lady said the mission is to improve the lives of New York's families and children.

"We are producing countless new fortunes, yet we have the second-highest rate of poverty in the country and the biggest gap between the rich and the poor," she said.

Still uncertain was whether Clinton would face Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani, the New York City mayor whose candidacy was expected to make the Senate race a clash of political titans. Three weeks ago, the mayor announced he had prostate cancer and said he was uncertain if he could continue in the race. Last week, he announced that he and his wife, Donna Hanover, were separating.

The Republican state convention in Buffalo is May 30.

Shaking hands with supporters, signing autographs and posing for photographs with admirers at the arena in downtown Albany before the convention began, the first lady predicted she would be "victorious in November" and told reporters that "I see the attention as a wonderful indication of how everybody's going to pull together."

In a last-minute addition to the festivities, President Clinton changed his schedule Tuesday in order to join the crowd of about 10,000 people at the convention.

"I just decided I ought to be there," Bill Clinton said before leaving Washington. "It's a big deal for her, a big night for her, and I want to be there with her. I just want to be there to support her."

The president did not address the convention.

The first lady lavished praise on her husband during her convention speech, a tribute that had the thousands in the arena on their feet and cheering. He mouthed a silent "thank you" to his wife as he bowed his head.

"This is the kind of excitement we haven't seen since Bobby Kennedy," said state Democratic Chairwoman Judith Hope.

Hillary Clinton is seeking the Senate seat from New York once held by Kennedy and later by the man she hopes to replace in the Senate, fellow Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan is retiring.

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