Hillary Watch: Week of September 19

Hurricane Hillary.
Hillary is telling anyone who will listen that President Bush can’t objectively probe federal failures in the Hurricane Katrina disaster, despite the President’s promise to examine what went wrong. “I don’t think the President investigating himself … is going to give us the answers or the clear-headed, realistic recommendations for the future,” she said. The Senate, however, rejected her call for an independent panel modeled on the 9/11 Commission to investigate why the plans to deal with Hurricane Katrina fell so tragically short. “I think we sort of have lost track of the fact this is a government that has to be accountable to the people of our country,” she said. “This is not a game. This has to be a serious inquiry that people have confidence in that will help us understand what did go wrong. The sooner we know that, the better.”

Keep Poor People Warm.
In the aftermath of Katrina and already high gas prices, Hillary has called on the President to set aside $1.3 billion to subsidize heating costs for low-income families and senior citizens. “The average New York family will need to spend at least $400 more this winter to pay their heating bills,” she said. “This could spell disaster for seniors, low-income families and the disabled across New York who are struggling to make ends meet. Unless we take action now, thousands of New Yorkers will be left out in the cold.” Hillary noted the funds would go to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income households meet their home heating needs, and the Weatherization Assistance Program, which works to make homes more energy-efficient for qualifying homeowners free of charge.

Plan B, Part V.
Hillary joined Sen. Patty Murray (D.-Wash.) once again in promoting the proliferation of the emergency contraceptive Plan B. The ladies have now asked Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to launch an investigation into reports that a conservative member of an FDA advisory committee was asked to write a “minority report” explaining why the agency should reject over-the-counter status for the abortifacient. They claim it is a matter of the administration trumpeting ideology over science.

Field of Four.
Recently, state Republicans met with potential 2006 Senate candidates—Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, Manhattan lawyer Ed Cox, former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and tax attorney William Brenner—to discuss their electoral prospects. The Journal News reported: “Listening to Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro yesterday, it was as if she had already gotten the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton. The problem? The three men who will not get out of her way.” Pirro was quoted as saying, “I’m running against Hillary Clinton, no one else. I’m interested in addressing the issues that this state is confronted with.” Despite ignoring her male opponents, Cox and Spencer confronted her head-on, with the former contending he is the only one who could gain the support of both the Republican and Conservative parties, and with the latter arguing that Pirro is a mirror of Clinton, so liberal as to leave voters little choice between the two women. Meanwhile, Brenner said he was focused on improving New York’s economy.

Immigration Factor.
The Minuteman Project, which patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants, is endorsing Spencer’s U.S. Senate candidacy. A Minuteman Project press release says, “In the race for U.S. Senate, John Spencer is the only candidate that stands firmly in support of securing our borders. … America is a country of immigrants, but there is a process that immigrants must go through to legally immigrate.” This endorsement comes in spite of Hillary’s efforts to appear that she cares about the problems of illegal immigration and securing our borders.

Home Improvement.
The New York Post reports Mrs. Clinton is planning to spend nearly $1 million to gut the first floor of her Washington, D.C., house, adding a new room and pool house. Permit applications show that Hillary is adding a 1,000-square-foot room to the ground floor with a terrace as well as the pool house, further increasing the size of the house (which is currently 6,250 square feet) and it’s worth (currently $4 million). The speculation is that the renovation and expansion of Hillary’s house is for the purpose of “entertaining major donors and holding lucrative fund raisers.”