It's Official! Hillary Declares Senate Candidacy

By Bruce Sullivan | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - In an historic first, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first wife of a sitting president to run for public office as she declared herself a Democratic candidate for the US Senate today in a speech delivered at the State University of New York at Purchase, where she was accompanied by her family.

"I'm honored today to announce my candidacy to the United States Senate for New York," said Mrs. Clinton as a beaming President Clinton watched from a seat behind her.

The first lady's announcement Sunday followed a neighborhood potluck dinner Saturday night near her newly purchased home in Chappaqua, N.Y., which she attended with her husband, their daughter Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton's mother.

Her declaration was preceded by a biographical film "Hillary" produced by her friend Linda-Bloodworth Thomason, who also helped produce "The Man From Hope," a film biography of Bill Clinton shown at the 1992 Democratic National Convention when he was first nominated for the presidency.

Bill Clinton is largely absent from the 18-minute "Hillary," only appearing briefly to say that his wife "would be very good" in the Senate.

Her likely Republican opponent, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has not formally announced his bid, but he made it clear that he would run to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Giuliani appeared on several political talk shows Sunday where he criticized Hillary Clinton's use of taxpayer money to further her political future.

"There's something wrong here," Giuliani said on Fox News Sunday. "The difference is the following, I am the mayor of New York City. They have the White House working for them and supporting them. The reality is I took 14 trips over the last six months and I paid $153,000 for those. Mrs. Clinton took something like 50 or 60 trips and paid $34,000."

Moynihan introduced Clinton at her announcement as New York's "next senator and our first woman senator."

Giuliani, a life-long New Yorker, alluded to Clinton's status as a new arrival to New York State and pointed to his record in New York City.

"I think this campaign should be about, in my particular case, what I bring to the table ... a philosophy of proven success in New York City," Giuliani said. "We've turned around crime, we've reduced the amount of welfare by 540,000 people."

Clinton admitted that she is an immigrant to New York State, but said that she is still qualified to represent New Yorkers in the U.S. Senate.

"I may be new to the neighborhood, but I'm not new to your concerns," said the First Lady.