Hillary's Comments "Leave No Doubt," Says Spokesman

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) "She wanted to leave no doubt in anyone's mind yesterday - she is running, she is in this race," said Howard Wolfson, the spokesman for Hillary Rodham Clinton's US Senate campaign.

On Wednesday, one day after Mrs. Clinton said, "The answer is 'Yes, I intend to run,'" Wolfson appeared on NBC's Today show and explained what prompted her to make the comment Tuesday: "Well, there were some questions ... and frankly, it was a distraction," Wolfson said. He said it's the issues that New Yorkers - and Hillary -- want to talk about. According to Wolfson, those issues include healthcare, education, the future of Medicare and Social Security, and the economy -- particularly, the economy of upstate New York.

Wolfson dismissed reports of eroding Democratic support for Hillary: "I have never seen a New York state Democratic Party more united behind a candidate ... from Senators Chuck Schumer and Moynihan, to the other statewide elected officials to the entire congressional delegation, New York Democrats are behind Hillary Clinton."

As for Democrats who have spoken against Mrs. Clinton, Wolfson said "New York is a tough place, but Hillary Clinton is tough and she's ready. She's excited."

Asked if Mrs. Clinton has any regrets about her decision to visit the Middle East, Wolfson said, "This was not a trip that was designed to promote her own political ambitions." He said it was a trip designed to help the peace process, although many observers suggest it may have done more harm than good.

Commenting on the controversy over Suha Arafat's comments that the Israelis are "poisoning" Palestinian woman and children, Wolfson repeated Hillary's earlier assertion that she was indeed very upset by those comments (but apparently not upset enough to speak against them at the time). "No one should question Hillary's commitment to a safe and secure Israel," Wolfson said.

Wolfson said Mrs. Clinton will relinquish more of her first lady responsibilities in the new year to concentrate on her senate run. Yesterday, Mrs. Clinton told reporters she would move into her new house in Chappaqua as soon as the Secret Service gives her the okay.

But she also said she would "absolutely'' welcome the president campaigning on her behalf. "I think he has been a great president for the people of New York,'' she said.