Did the Subway Series Save Hillary a Hit?

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In the inimitable words of the New York Post, "Travelgate Prober: Hill lied, but I can't prove it."

Essentially, Ken Starr sub Robert Ray says he caught Mrs. Clinton in some very Clintonesque semantic contortions over her role in the dismissal of seven members of the White House travel office. She says it was a staff decision that she had nothing to do with (and which was made because of some financial improprieties by the staffers); Ray contends that Hillary ordered the purge because the employees were Bush administration holdovers and therefore enemies. But he doesn't have enough to prosecute.

Still, that's something the Murdoch-owned, fervently anti-Hillary Post could have been counted on to trumpet from the rooftops, especially three weeks before the election. But this is no ordinary October. In New York, we've got a little thing going on called a Subway Series. The Travelgate story was buried on Page 10, behind nine pages of breathless anticipation for the Yanks-Mets "civil war."

More — and much more critical — coverage was devoted to Hillary's avowal that "I'm going to be rooting for the Yankees, I'll tell you that much." (Hillary has gotten a lot of flak around here for ditching her Cubbies just in time for the Senate race last year.) New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Clinton's almost-opponent and a lifelong Yanks fan, laughed for reporters at Clinton's allegiance and expressed regret that he wouldn't be making a bet on the Series with the First Lady.

On Ray's findings, Hillary went with the boilerplate: "I said [when the first findings were released in June] I was glad that it was over after all these years, millions of dollars, and I really have nothing further to add to that."

Neither did her opponent, Rick Lazio: "Integrity needs to be restored to our public servants," Lazio said with little attempt at fanfare. "The rule of law applies to all of us, and not just to some of us."

And thus did a potential distraction to the First Lady's bid for the Senate — she's ahead but still catchable with a double-the-margin-of-error, 50-to-43-ish lead — come and quickly go. As Clinton herself said, when informed of Giuliani's scoffing, "The Subway Series is so far beyond politics. I mean it's more important than politics."

Lucky for her.