From today's N.Y. Times (9/14/00): Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio rip into each other in debategreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
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from Lazio v. Clinton
Lazio and Hillary Clinton Clash on Donations, Taxes and Trust
By ADAM NAGOURNEY --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BUFFALO, Sept. 13 Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Rick A. Lazio slashed into each other for nearly 60 minutes in a nationally televised debate tonight, attacking each other's credentials, integrity and political views. Near the debate's end, Mr. Lazio crossed the stage to the first lady, waving a piece of paper in his hand as he unsuccessfully challenged her to sign a pledge renouncing the use of soft money in her campaign.
The two candidates for United States Senate, in their first debate, engaged in what may well have been the most raucous meeting of two candidates for statewide office in New York in a generation.
Mr. Lazio, viewing the debate as his best chance yet to introduce himself to New York voters, took after Mrs. Clinton from the very first question and hammered her at virtually every opportunity for the rest of the hourlong program. He attacked her as untrustworthy, mocked her attempt to serve as a senator from a state where she has never before lived, and at one point grew visibly angry as he described her as "beyond shameless."
For her part, the first lady repeatedly sought to link Mr. Lazio to the policies of Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, noting that Mr. Lazio voted with Republicans in shutting down the government in 1994. She attacked what she described as his "reckless" plan to cut taxes by at least $770 billion.
But perhaps the most striking moment of the evening came not with Mr. Lazio and Mrs. Clinton, but with the first lady and the moderator of the debate, Tim Russert, the host of NBC's Sunday program "Meet the Press." He showed a videotape from the "Today" program of Jan. 27, 1998, in which Mrs. Clinton, just after the Lewinsky scandal broke, defended her husband and denied the allegations that he had had an affair with a White House intern. Mr. Russert asked Mrs. Clinton if she regretted "misleading the American people" and if she would "now apologize for branding people as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy."
Mrs. Clinton, who has declined to appear as a guest on "Meet the Press," appeared shaken by the question. Her eyes turned downward and her face tightened.
"Well you know Tim, that was a very, a very painful time for me, for my family and for our country," she said quietly. "It is something that I regret deeply that anyone had to go through.
"I've tried to be as forthcoming as I could, given the circumstances that I faced," she said, her eyes still downcast. "Obviously I didn't mislead anyone. I didn't know the truth. And there's a great deal of pain associated with that and my husband has certainly acknowledged that and made it clear that he did mislead the country as well as his family."
The exchange came in a debate that had been viewed as a critical juncture for both sides and particularly for Mr. Lazio, who seemed intent on erasing any doubt among Republicans about the vigor he might bring to this contest against Mrs. Clinton. And there was no doubt that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lazio had arrived with the intent of getting out one central charge against the other.
Mrs. Clinton mentioned Mr. Gingrich a half-dozen times. "Time and time again, when he's had a choice to make, particularly at the critical turning point when our country was really on the line with Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, he stood with the Republican leadership and Newt Gingrich," Mrs. Clinton said of Mr. Lazio.
Mr. Lazio's use of repetition revolved around the words "trust" and "character," painting Mrs. Clinton with the same broad accusations that Republicans have used against her husband. "At the heart of this campaign are two critical issues: character and trust," Mr. Lazio said in his closing statement. "They've come up all night. Now, the measure of someone's character and trust is not what you say; it's what you actually do.'
Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lazio arrived with presidential-campaign- size squadrons of aides and supporters, in a city where a presidential- campaign-size squadron of reporters had descended. Mr. Lazio's campaign kept up a constant patter of e- mails to reporters attacking Mrs. Clinton during the debate, and both candidates and their aides not surprisingly declared victory once they were done.
A number of Republicans had said that Mr. Lazio, who remains a relatively unknown quantity in the state, had more to gain and to prove with the presumably huge audience he found tonight. And Mr. Lazio fairly leapt from behind the lectern as he went after the first lady, not even backing away when Mr. Russert gave him a chance to follow up on Mrs. Clinton's reply to her husband's infidelities.
"I think that, frankly, what's so troubling here with respect to what my opponent just said, is somehow that it only matters what you say when you get caught," Mr. Lazio said. "And character and trust is about, well, more than that. And blaming others every time you have responsibility? Unfortunately, that's become a pattern, I think, for my opponent. And it's something that I reject and I believe that New Yorkers reject. We can do well better."
The first lady did anything but turn the other cheek, even though Mr. Lazio attacked first. In answer to the initial question, Mr. Lazio attacked Mrs. Clinton's effort to advocate a national health care system, saying that "a New Yorker would have never made that proposal" and that "the bottom line is, it would have been terrible for New York."
Mrs. Clinton used Mr. Lazio's response to introduce one of her dominant themes of the evening. "Well, you know Tim, listening to the congressman's response reminds me of a word I've heard a lot of this past year: chutzpah," she said. "He stands here and tells us that he's a moderate, mainstream, independent member of Congress. Well, in fact, he was a deputy whip to Newt Gingrich. He voted to shut the government down. He voted to cut $270 billion from Medicare. He voted for the biggest education cuts in our history."
Mr. Lazio returned to the attack two questions later, in response to a question posed to him about the upstate economy. "Well, I have to go back to Mrs. Clinton's last remark because it has to redefine the word chutzpah," he said. "Mrs. Clinton, you of all people shouldn't try to make guilt by association. Newt Gingrich isn't running in this race. I'm running in this race. Let's talk about my record."
At times, the debate here seemed on the verge of spinning beyond even Mr. Russert's control, particularly when Mr. Lazio yanked the soft money pledge from his pocket. Debate organizers later said that Mr. Lazio broke one of the debate rules against using props, though Mr. Lazio's advisers said they would make no apologies.
The pledge produced by Mr. Lazio called on the candidates to renounce the use of soft money, the largely unregulated campaign contributions that have proven to be a major benefit for the first lady. Mrs. Clinton has raised almost $22 million for her campaign, both through millions in soft money and in direct contributions, and Mr. Lazio has accumulated about $19 million.
Mr. Lazio has, so far, not set up any soft-money fund-raising committees on his behalf. However, he has benefited from spending by independent committees, which have been running ads in New York attacking Mrs. Clinton. The first lady has said that she is willing to renounce the use of soft money, providing that Mr. Lazio obtains "signed agreements" from those committees promising not to advertise in New York or those sending "mean mail" solicitations.
In truth, a number of political analysts have suggested, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lazio were probably more interested in winning political advantage than in actually changing campaign finance projects. At the end of the exchange, the two talked over each other, with Mr. Lazio standing trying to press the piece of paper into Mrs. Clinton's hand, and Mrs. Clinton trying to get Mr. Lazio to shake her hand on the broader proposal she was making.
"You know, I admire that," she said. "That was a wonderful performance and I "
"Well, why don't you just sign it?"' Mr. Lazio demanded.
"And you, and you did it very well," Mrs. Clinton said, ignoring his demands.
"I'm not asking you to admire it," Mr. Lazio said. "I'm asking you to sign it."
Both candidates seemed nervous, particularly at the start, though both seemed to get looser as the night went along. For much of the evening, Mrs. Clinton was serious; she did not smile often. By contrast, Mr. Lazio pulsated while smiling; one of Mrs. Clinton's advisers suggested later that he was almost smirking.
Through all the squabbling, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lazio offered clearly different views of what government should do and what they would do in the Senate. Mr. Lazio advocated large tax cuts as a way of invigorating the economy, and school vouchers to help the nation's education system. Mrs. Clinton attacked those as a threat to the nation's prosperity.
And they sparred over, but steered around, the issue of whether a convicted spy, Jonathan Pollard, should be granted clemency a situation favored by many Jews. Both candidates said they did not have access to classified information needed to offer an informed opinion.
-- eve (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2000
I'm sorry -- the link doesn't seem to be working right now -- at least for me -- but the url is:
-- eve (email@example.com), September 14, 2000.
I'll try the link again...
Hillary v. Lazio
-- eve (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2000.
And here's the entire transcript!
-- eve (email@example.com), September 14, 2000.
"Obviously I didn't mislead anyone. I didn't know the truth." But now she does and should she apologize to those she accused of a "witch hunt"? I think that she should take responsibility for those words and actions. I think the time has come to admit she did mislead the country and falsely accused others of misdoing.
-- Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2000.
Don't know about Rick and Hillary, but my respect for Tim Russert has dropped a few points.
-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), September 14, 2000.
"I know my husband didn't screw that woman, and I believe the truth will come out and everyone will be pleasantly surprised." My God! If she doesn't know what's going on in her own back yard, how could she possibly be a leader in New York?
-- I did not have sex with that woman (Ididnothavesex@Ididnothavesexxx.xcom), September 14, 2000.
To the good people of New York I say this: Elect Hillary Clinton as your Senator and show the world how truly ignorant you are.
-- I (email@example.com), September 14, 2000.
Honestly, I enjoyed watching the anger RISE up in lil ol Hill.
It gave me a sick sort of grin as I watched it. I bet if she would have had a gun, she would have shot the SOB....or at the least, she wanted to slap him. I havent seen her that angry ever.
And rick, well, he completely enjoyed himself.
I frankly would vote Rick IF I lived in New York, simply because it is not Hillary running but the White House is funding her campaign which pisses me off in the 1st place. To think my $$$ are financing the 'witch' just makes moi cringe.
-- consumer (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 15, 2000.