Keeping Democrats From Burning While Hillary Fiddles

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Will she or won't she? Enough already, decide! For months Hillary Rodham Clinton has been thinking, toying and teasing about the possibility of running for the Senate from New York, ever since leading state Democrats encouraged her to consider replacing retiring Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The First Lady enjoyed the attention at first -- after all, she's a New Yorker at heart: She loves Eleanor Roosevelt. Now, to the surprise of many, reports Karen Tumulty, "the First Lady may be actually and seriously considering a run." (The possibility has not escaped her strongest potential Republican rival, however, New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose backers recently went online with a HillaryNo.com web site). Still, considering a run is not the same as declaring one and "the pressure is now coming on strong from Democrats for the First Lady to make a decision," says Tumulty. If she doesn't make up her mind soon, it may be too late for another Democrat to mount a successful bid.

It takes millions to run a winning Senate campaign in a state like New York and "fund-raising is exceedingly important to whomever decides to run," says Tumulty. Representative Nita Lowey wants to run, if Hillary does not, but she needs to start raking in the cash soon. Enter the First Lady again with a typically Clintonian brainstorm: Why not have it both ways? Mrs. Clinton let it be known, as she returned from her 12-day trip to Africa, that she has agreed to star at a fund-raising event for Lowey in May. Lowey can keep the $500,000 that is expected to be raised at the occasion and use it to run for either the Senate or the House -- whichever is left after Mrs. Clinton takes a little more time to decide what to do. Isn't it nice to have a Clinton for a friend?