Clinton in 2000?

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There's something about the rough-and-tumble of U.S. presidential politics that often makes the wife look better than the husband. Remember Betty and Gerald Ford? Elizabeth Dole is seriously considering a run for president herself. And now comes word that Hillary Clinton may be considering extending her career in politics, too: as a New York senator. Leading Democrats in the state are touting her name, hoping she could succeed to the seat of retiring Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 2000. But don't hold your breath, say TIME Washington correspondents Karen Tumulty and John Dickerson. "It makes for interesting conversation," says Tumulty, "and Mrs. Clinton doesn't mind the boost she gets from the speculation, but it's hard to imagine she would actually run."

"Look at what electoral politics has already done to her family," says Tumulty. It's difficult to believe she would want to put herself, her daughter and her husband through the meat grinder once more. "New York Senate races tend to degenerate into street fights," concurs Dickerson. That was true of Moynihan's own initial election, and it was true of the last senatorial campaign, which resulted in the election of Charles Schumer over Alfonse D'Amato. Another disadvantage, says Tumulty, "is that Mrs. Clinton would be running while she is an incumbent First Lady." That could tie her too closely to her husband and limit her freedom to espouse various issues. "Also don't forget that she could face a tough opponent," says Dickerson. "Republican mayor Rudolph Giuliani is considering running for the seat." So why all the speculation? "Many New York Democrats like her and she would certainly be a strong candidate," says Tumulty. Besides, New York has a bit of a tradition of importing successful, well-connected out-of-state pols: Remember Senator Robert Kennedy?