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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

HILLARY'S NEW PROBLEM: Just by showing up, Jeanine Pirro has severely complicated Clinton's life by many orders of magnitude. Pirro is pro-choice on abortion, moderate on gay rights, tough on law and order (pro-death penalty) and a believer in the free market. She's smart, sassy, tough, and articulate. In short, Pirro's a great New York candidate who forces Hillary to answer a question: To run for re-election or run directly for the White House? If Hillary stays in the Senate race, Pirro will make Hillary work hard to win re-election, when what Hillary needs is to save her money and powder for the presidential primaries. If Hillary returns to the Senate it will be by a close margin, and no doubt bruised. If Hillary decides to forego the Senate race, she thus loses the opportunity she needs to slowly keep moving toward the political center. She also loses a chance to look cagey about the White House over the next eighteen months. If Hillary drops out she'll look like she ran scared from a tough re-election battle. Hillary may be ahead of Pirro by a two-to-one margin, but that's with 30 percent of pro-Hillary voters saying they want her to promise to fill out her Senate term if re-elected. One downside for Pirro: Her husband had legal problems. But wait — didn't Hillary's husband also have some legal issues? Columnist Michael Goodwin is more optimistic about Hillary's Pirro problem.