Hillary Says She "Intends" to Run

By Dorothea Cooke | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - First Lady Hillary Clinton said during a campaign appearance with a teacher's union that "yes, I intend to run" for the United States Senate from New York, but she added her formal announcement will not happen until next year.

While Tuesday was not the anticipated formal announcement, the moment did provide Mrs. Clinton an opportunity to declare her candidacy and shore up a sagging campaign. Instead the First Lady chose to say only that yes she intends to run for the Senate. Mrs. Clinton has been a "listening tour" of New York the last few months.

Doubts about whether or not Mrs. Clinton will run have circulated through New York the last two weeks since her trip to the Middle East that raised questions about her political instincts.

A recent series of missteps have hurt her campaign to seek the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and called into question her ability to run a successful, high profile campaign. Mrs. Clinton's advisors have reportedly been trying to extinguish those doubts while her poll numbers sag and fellow Democrats throw their support elsewhere.

Various public opinion surveys have recently placed Mrs. Clinton behind New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, her likely Republican opponent should they both declare their candidacy.

The latest CNN poll indicates Mrs. Clinton is six points behind Giuliani and a Zogby International survey conducted over the weekend shows Mrs. Clinton trailing Giuliani 42.7 percent to 50.3 percent.

The political fallout continues from Mrs. Clinton's trip to Israel which went awry when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's wife, Suha, heaped condemnation on the Israelis for allegedly polluting the Palestinian's air and water supply with cancer causing elements.

Mrs. Clinton sat stone-faced during Mrs. Arafat's assertions of the Israeli's killing Palestinian children and waited until the following day to denounce the allegations.

Mrs. Clinton's hesitation lead prominent Jewish leaders in New York to question the sincerity of her support for New York's influential Jewish population.

The Republican Jewish Coalition began running advertisements in New York and Washington, DC on Monday featuring news footage of Mrs. Clinton and Suha Arafat at the Palestinian rally.

Mrs. Clinton's spokesman Howard Wolfson suggested that the ads were an indication that Giuliani was preparing a negative and nasty campaign against the First Lady. Giuliani said his campaign is not responsible for the ads and has no control over them.

The First Lady's hesitation in announcing whether or not she would definitely campaign for New York's soon vacant Senate seat prompted calls from prominent New York Democrats to make a decision and make it known or get out of the race.

New York City councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge, representing Manhattan's traditionally liberal Upper West Side, called on Mrs. Clinton to drop out of the race and let a stronger opponent face likely GOP candidate Giuliani.

New York Democratic State Committee Chairwoman Judith Hope last week called on Mrs. Clinton to give up her day job - First Lady - to campaign full time. (Mrs. Clinton Tuesday said she will be moving into her new house in Chappaqua before the president leaves the White House, meaning the couple will live apart for a time. "I'm going to be moving into my house as soon as the Secret Service tells me it's ready," she said, after brief remarks to the teacher's union.)

New York Democrat Assemblyman Dov Hikind has said, "This is ridiculous. I'm calling for her to get out. Just give someone else a chance so we in the Democratic Party can elect a Democrat. I think she is slowly self-destructing."

Democrat State Senator Carl Kruger from Brooklyn is reportedly about to endorse Giuliani in his bid against Mrs. Clinton.

CNSNews.com reporter Ben Anderson also contributed to this report.