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Hillary Clinton Comments on Her Senate Victory

Aired November 8, 2000 - 2:06 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And now we're hearing from the first first lady who's won an election. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. senator-elect from New York, is talking about the issues that will be important to her.

QUESTION: ... or you can go right in there and use what additional clout that someone of your celebrity engenders. Have you thought about that at all? Do you know which way you might go? I mean...

SENATOR-ELECT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: No, I really haven't. I think -- and to me it's like a case-by-case basis. I don't see that there's one strategy fits all. I don't think that that's the way it works.

Now, you know, I don't expect this much attention after today. And so, I think that I'll have more of an opportunity to get down to the work of, you know, becoming a senator and becoming effective.

And from what I know about the Senate, you know, it's like any new job. You have got to find your footing, you have to be, you know, willing to work hard, to learn the, you know, the ropes and the rules, build relationships with people, all of which I intend to do.

I just see this as, you know, an opportunity for me to get to work in the most effective way possible, and there will be different, you know, different means I choose, depending upon what I'm trying to accomplish.

QUESTION: Is there anything about this campaign, about the tone that came out of any of the commercials that your campaign ran, or the Lazio campaign ran, any of the effect that it might have had on voters, turning voters off?

CLINTON: I don't know, I feel very good about the vote. And I certainly feel very good about the validation of the kind of campaign that we tried to run.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, when your colleague, Chuck Schumer, traveled throughout the state, people can come and go as they please, if they care to see him speak or whatever. And obviously, there's been a degree of security with your appearances throughout the state because you are the first lady. But when you are Senator Clinton, can we expect, can the public expect to see that go away entirely, or cut down, or will people have that kind of unfettered access they have with your new colleague in the Senate, Chuck Schumer?

CLINTON: Well, I don't know, I haven't even thought about that. But I think people felt that I was accessible. I think people knew that I worked hard to be accessible. I think that literally tens of thousands of people that I had face-to-face conversations with, that I spent time with, that I shook hands with, I think New Yorkers came away feeling that not only had I been, but I would continue to be accessible, and I intend to be.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) be in place an hour early all the time (inaudible)?

CLINTON: You know, I just don't know. There are issues related to that and I haven't even begun to sort them out.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, a certain number of people voted against you. What will you do to reach out to them? What would you like to say to those people?

CLINTON: Well, I think in any election there are people who vote for you and vote against you. I'm gratified we had so many more voting for me. But as I said last night, I -- you know, yesterday we voted as Democrats, Republicans, party members. Today, you know, we're New Yorkers and I'm going to get to work to represent the entire state of New York.

I intend to be a senator for everyone in New York. And you know, over the course of time, I think people who might have supported my opponent will understand and see that.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, can you tell us last night, when you were watching the returns, was the with the president with you? Can you describe the scene? And also, could you say how much do you think this victory is (inaudible)?

CLINTON: Well, I think, you know, well, we had a rather large group of friends, supporters, family with us. And people were in and out of our suite upstairs. The president, of course, was there, and he and my daughter were very excited and very happy about the outcome.

As I said last night, I would not have been standing there without, you know, the support and work of my husband. And I don't think as a new Democrat, I would have been standing there without his leadership of the Democratic party and of our country.

You've heard me say many times over -- and I absolutely believe it -- that his leadership made a tremendous difference in our nation. We're a stronger and better country than we were. And I think that the ideas he brought to politics, the hard work and persistence that he exemplified, is something that all of us can, you know, learn from.

So, you know, you can't separate out an ongoing conversation that we've had about these issues for 29 years from last night. It's all part of it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) about committees yet? CLINTON: I don't know, I don't know yet.


QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, can you tell me what role you think women voters played in your victory?

CLINTON: Well, I think they played a decisive role. I mean, according to the early exit returns, I got 61 percent of the women's vote. I spoke with a number of people today who were, you know, very amazed by the margin that I received. I think I came close, if not -- made a near majority of the male vote as well, so I don't mean to leave the men out. But I think that the vote was very, you know, it was a very powerful statement about what women voters care about, which is what I care about.

So I think that that really resonated. And I was very grateful for all the hard work that so many of my friends did. I mean, I don't know how to really catalogue all of my friends who went to parties, went to small gatherings, spoke for me, called their friends, e- mailed, reached out. And all of that added up over time so that we got a tremendous vote last night.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, how do you wear both hats in the intervening time between your still being first lady and senator- elect?

CLINTON: Well, for example, I have to go back to Washington tonight because tomorrow we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the White House. And that is one of the obligations that I'm looking forward to. We are going to have a number of our previous presidents there. As of now, Presidents Bush, Carter and Ford are scheduled to be there. Lady Bird Johnson will be there. It's a very moving tribute to the house that really symbolizes our American democracy.

On Friday, I'm planning to fly around upstate and will be trying to fit in as many stops as we're able to. Then I'll be going to Vietnam with the president. And I'll be working, you know, on all of the transition issues.

But you know, there's going to be a session of Congress next week and Senator Moynihan and Senator Schumer, you know, our New York senators, they will be leading the debate and making the decisions, and I will obviously support them. So I'm going to be finishing up my responsibilities in the White House while I transition into becoming the senator.


QUESTION: ... plans later this week? Are you planning rallies?

CLINTON: You know, we're going to do airport touchdowns, inviting our supporters and the press to come out to the airport, because I want to try to fit in as many as I can. So we're not going to be able to do anything more elaborate than that. But as soon as we have the schedule set, we'll let you know. I feel very strongly about, you know, going back upstate. And I'd hoped to do it today, but, you know, with everything that went on last night, most people didn't even get back home. So it didn't work out. But we will be going that on Friday.


CLINTON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mrs. Clinton.

CLINTON: Gee, this is so much fun, Howard! Didn't Howard do a great job? Yay!

ALLEN: Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. senator-elect from the state of New York, talking about the future as a senator, saying that she wouldn't have won without the support of her husband. Next stop for her is back to Washington for the 200th anniversary of the White House. Then she'll do a fly-around of the state on Friday, as you heard, to thank her supporters, and then it's with the president to his trip to Vietnam. Clinton winning over Rick Lazio 56 percent to 44 percent, a race that has an ending.



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