Hillary Gets Pilloried in Tabloid Tug-of-War!

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Is Hillary Clinton a radiant beacon of freedom –- or just another waffling Clinton? Depends on which New York tabloid you read. Like two Dobermans fighting over a juicy steak, the New York Post and the Daily News both plastered the First Lady all over their front pages on Friday, just as Mrs. Clinton was getting ready to suspend her "listening tour" of the Empire State and head back to Washington for the weekend. The liberal News put her face on the Statue of Liberty, gleefully noting that Hillary’s upcoming cover-girl party for about-to-be launched Talk magazine was back on in the Big Apple, right on Liberty Island — and that the First Lady, unlike her main rival, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has vowed to serve her full six-year term if elected. (Giuliani, as politics lovers will know, had banned the Talk bash from taking place in New York's Brooklyn Navy Yard.)

The Post saw things a different way, trumpeting "Hillary’s Chutzpah" on an issue near and dear to New York’s large Jewish population: the capital of Israel. Last year, Mrs. Clinton had made a splash on a Mideast trip by calling a Palestinian state "inevitable." Last Friday she penned a letter to a leading Jewish group unequivocally declaring Jerusalem — which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital — the "eternal and indivisible capital of Israel." Hillary’s first flip-flop? "More like an obligatory pander," says TIME senior writer Eric Pooley. "The two things aren’t mutually exclusive –- this just means the Palestinian capital wouldn’t be Jerusalem." Pooley figures she’s done minimal damage – with the peace-minded Barak in power in Israel, New York’s Jewish and Arab communities are both in an accommodating mood. In no way, however, does that feeling extend to its tabloids.