Senator Clinton 'Abusing the System,' Says NY GOP Opponent
(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Hillary Clinton is "abusing the system" -- using New York State voters as a springboard to the presidency, according to a 38-year-old Republican who would like to stop Mrs. Clinton in 2006, well before sthe 2008 Democratic race for president.
"[Clinton] is not even running for U.S. Senate, she is running for president and she clearly has no intention of fulfilling a six-year Senate term if she is re-elected," said likely GOP Senate candidate Adam Brecht in an interview with Cybercast News Service.
"Unfortunately, she's abusing the system," Brecht said. "I think putting everyone through the charade of a Senate campaign is ridiculous. It is ridiculous for her to run for an office she does not intend to execute." Brecht is a Wall Street public relations executive and once worked for former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato. Although Sen. Clinton has not officially announced her intention of running for a second term, most political observers expect her to do so.
"I don't know why she is putting the people of New York through this. It's kind of disingenuous and I would love to see her commit publicly to serving a full six year term if re-elected. I think the people deserve that," Brecht said.
Abandoning a congressional or gubernatorial seat midway through a term to become president would not be the first time. Both President George W. Bush and Sen. Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, left office midway through their gubernatorial terms to assume the presidency.
Brecht also criticized Clinton's Senate record.
"Nothing has been delivered. There are crushing problems in this state. We elected a celebrity in 2000, and now we need to elect a working senator," Brecht said.
"We really can't afford to indulge someone's passion for stardom any longer," he added.
Brecht said Clinton's "move to the right" on key issues like national security and defense are designed to "make her self more nationally electable."
However, former Republican U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of the most powerful conservatives and Clinton critics of the 1990s, praised the New York senator during a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in April.
"Senator Clinton is very competent, very professional, very intelligently moving toward the center, very shrewdly and effectively serving on the Armed Services Committee," Gingrich was quoted in the New York Times.
"And I think any Republican who thinks she's going to be easy to beat has a total amnesia about the history of the Clintons," Gingrich added.
Despite Mrs. Clinton's perceived political strength, Brecht touted a Marist College Poll from last month showing him slightly ahead of the two likely candidates to run for the GOP nomination. The poll showed Brecht leading Edward Cox, a Manhattan lawyer and son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon and Jeanine Pirro, the district attorney from Westchester County.
The Marist College poll showed well-known Republicans like Gov. George Pataki, former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the strongest potential opponents for Clinton, but none of the three is expected to run.
Other possible GOP contenders include New York State Health Commissioner Antonia Novello and tax lawyer William Brenner of Sullivan County, N.Y. Novello served as the U.S. surgeon general from 1990 to 1993 under then-President George H.W. Bush and Brenner ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2004.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported Brenner bills himself as the "anti-Hillary" candidate and according to his campaign, "has never hidden his dislike for incumbent Senator Clinton, whom he deems 'an opportunistic carpetbagger with her sights set on the White House.'"
Cox, an attorney with the New York firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, is not expected to announce his official candidacy until the fall, but he is expected to have his website up in the next week.
"We are off exploring, talking to people and he is serious about a race against Hillary Clinton, though he is not a declared candidate as of yet," said Lynn Mueller, a political advisor to Cox in an interview with Cybercast News Service .
"We think New York deserves a senator who's going to represent New York and not do anything else," Mueller said.
'East coast Arnold Schwarzenegger'
The eventual GOP Senate nominee will face an incumbent Clinton with a 63 percent approval rating from New York State voters, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll released last week. Clinton never polled less than 60 percent of the vote when paired with any of her potential GOP rivals for Senate. The Quinnipiac poll showed that even Governor Pataki could not muster even a third of the voter against Clinton. A head to head match up with Giuliani was not taken.
Clinton is expected to have no trouble raising money for her Senate re-election campaign. During the first three months of 2005, she had already raised nearly $4 million in contributions and had $8.7 million in the bank. In 2000 she spent an estimated $30 million to defeat Lazio in what was regarded as the most expensive Senate race in New York history.
Lazio did not have to face an incumbent in 2000. Six years later, Brecht and the other Republican candidates face even longer odds.
"[Clinton's] popularity -- her numbers, are so high, it's amazing," Brecht said.
"I am no fool, I understand that what the situation requires is sort of an east coast Arnold Schwarzenegger -- somebody who is a household name, very well financed, and beloved," he explained.
"I will support that person when that person steps forward. As of now however, that person has not stepped forward," he added.
Clinton's campaign fundraising has been under scrutiny recently. David Rosen, the former national finance director for the 2000 Senate campaign faces a four-count federal indictment charging that he "knowingly and willfully caused to be made materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements" to the Federal Election Commission relating to campaign contributions. Rosen, who is scheduled to go on trial within the next two weeks, could face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 if convicted.
Peter Paul, a former Clinton supporter and Hollywood fundraiser, served as the catalyst behind the January 2005 federal indictment of Rosen. Paul hosted a major Hollywood fundraising event in August 2000 for Clinton's Senate campaign and Rosen's federal indictments charge him with underreporting the costs associated with the event.
"There was a relationship that I had with the Clintons that extended over a period of a half-year," Paul told Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes on May 3.
Paul claimed that both Bill and Hillary Clinton "induced me not only to produce and underwrite her biggest [2000 campaign] fundraiser, but to continue to give them money after they told the public through The Washington Post they hardly knew me and they wouldn't take money." Paul has filed a civil suit against the Clinton campaign charging it with significantly underreporting the cost of the August 2000 Hollywood gala, an event that Paul claims to have spent nearly $2 million organizing.
Paul recently launched an anti-Clinton effort called the Hillary Clinton Accountability Project. Paul asks, "Did Hillary Clinton win her Senate seat through fraud?" on his website HILLCAP.org.
David Kendall, a lawyer for the Clintons, refuted Paul's accusations and his civil suit against the Clinton campaign.
"Peter Paul is a man with an impressive record of felony convictions," Kendall said, referring to Paul's guilty plea in March in New York federal court to securities fraud.
"Most of his civil suit has already been dismissed and the remainder has no merit," Kendall added.
Clinton's expected re-election campaign to the Senate has already mobilized her political opponents. As Cybercast News Service previously reported a new website intended to "shed light on the REAL Hillary Clinton and the danger she and her ideas pose for America" was launched last week. The Stop Her Now website is run by Arthur Finkelstein, a political activist who advises Republicans, and William Black, a political fundraiser from Virginia.
"We're out to expose her as a confirmed left-wing radical and life-long liberal who long ago sold her soul to the divisive, radical and ultra-liberal special interest groups who see everyone as 'victims' and want to use your tax dollars and the power of the state to make things right," the website says.
See Related Articles:
'Stop Her Now' Website Targets Hillary Clinton (May 4, 2005)
Senator Clinton Seeks Husband's Success on Abortion Issue (May 2, 2005)
'Anti-Hillary' Candidate Running for US Senate (March 30, 2005)
Pro-Life Activists Question Hillary Clinton's Sincerity (April 26, 2005)
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