Hillary's Senate Run Turns Into a Jog

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Fifteen news cameras were there in Washington when Hillary Clinton officially became an about-to-run as U.S. senator from New York; Hillary didn't feel the need to show up. It's good to be the First Lady, isn't it? But now that she's formed an exploratory committee (and thus satisfied the folks at the Federal Election Commission), the only candidate in history with more family-name recognition than George W. Bush is going to unpack her carpetbag and spend some time in the Empire State. Hillary will kick off a "summerlong listening tour" of New York on Wednesday at the farm of outgoing senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, according to campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson. "Over the next month Mrs. Clinton will travel throughout the state, meeting with New Yorkers in small groups and listening to them discuss the issues that concern them most."

But when is she going to stop running her putative political career on the public dime? "The taxpayers are still paying for this because she's not a candidate yet," says TIME White House correspondent Karen Tumulty. "But she's going to have to start paying her own way soon. It's becoming an issue." The summer tour, says Tumulty, is all about breaking away from Bill and Washington for a while and convincing New Yorkers that she won't forget about them if they send her back. If she's looking to prove her independence, writing her own checks would be an excellent start.