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Commentary: Senator Clinton's Presidential Aspirations

By Richard Teetsel

Buffalo, NY – Is there anyone left out there who doesn't know that Hillary Rodham Clinton has her sights set on being America's first woman president?

The Associated Press has reported that "several advisers and friends close to Clinton" say that if President Bush wins re-election in 2004, Mrs. Clinton would almost certainly run for the presidency in 2008.

Senator Clinton responded to those reports by saying, "I don't know who those people are...because, they've never had a conversation with me they can quote."

Well, no, of course not. She certainly hasn't authorized anyone to quote her as saying she is planning to run, but that doesn't mean she isn't doing so.

Mrs. Clinton campaigned for the Senate on her "plan" to bring 200,000 more jobs to upstate New York. Since being elected and in a Senate controlled by her own party, she has done nothing to introduce any legislation that would bring more jobs to our area.

What she has been doing more than any other Senator is raising money for her Political Action Committee and using that money to buy support for her future ambitions. AP reports that her PAC has contributed more than $600,000 to 73 Democratic canddiates across the country and she has raised even more than that for various key Democrats by headlining fundraising events for them. All this is buy their support whenever she makes her bid for the Democratic nomination.

Tellingly, she has particularly targeted Democrats in New Hampshire and Iowa, where the first two presidential primaries are held.

It also should come as no surprise that Mrs. Clinton was heard screaming behind closed doors at fellow Democratic Senator Russell Feingold over his attempts to reform campaign fundraising. Feingold reported that Mrs. Clinton told him, "You're not living in the real world."

She and five other Democratic Senators were arguing at that meeting that the party should find ways around the McCain-Feingold law that goes into effect after this November's election. Feingold said "It was a troubling display for a party that claims to be for cleaning up the system."

Of course, Mrs. Clinton and her husband have a history of skirting fundraising laws. The PBS show "Frontline" in 1996 showed Mrs. Clinton telling potential donors at a White House gathering that "we have found ways around" the fundraising rules then in effect. We all remember the sleepovers people could buy in the Lincoln bedroom in return for major gifts to her husband.

Mrs. Clinton clearly has her sights set on sleeping in the White House again herself, as Madame President.

Listener-Commentator Richard Teetsel is a former news writer and editor and a one-time Democratic candidate for the Erie County Legislature.