Hillary Watch: Week of September 26

Bill on Hill. Hillary’s husband recently appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he said his wife should not have to promise to serve out a full six-year Senate term if re-elected. “I think she should say she wants to be judged on both her record and her plans for the future,” said former President Bill Clinton. “For the figures that are large figures in their parties, who honestly don’t know and can’t know this early whether they’re going to run . . . I don’t think they should make commitments.”

Clinton also noted on the show: “President Bush didn’t make a commitment when he ran for re-election as governor of Texas, and he was remarkably candid. He said, you know, the voters will have to take this into account if it bothers them.” However, Sen. Clinton hasn’t even said this. It may also be remembered that then-Gov. Clinton himself pledged in 1990 to serve a full, four-year term as governor of Arkansas, then broke his promise to run for President in 1992.

For her part, Hillary has publicly stated that she is focused on winning her 2006 re-election, and she has not promised to serve a full term if re-elected. This is in contrast to when she ran in 2000, when she explicitly pledged to serve her entire six-year term. And despite making these comments on national TV, Mr. Clinton still insisted that his wife has not decided to run for President in 2008. “She’s got to go through a big [Senate] campaign, and then she’ll have a decision to make—like probably a dozen other Democrats,” he said.

Pirro Pushes Pledge. After President Clinton’s appearance on “Meet the Press,” GOP candidate Jeanine Pirro criticized Hillary, saying she is hiding behind her husband. Pirro also took the opportunity to  again press Sen. Clinton to pledge to serve a full, six-year term if re-elected. At an Albany, N.Y., news conference, Pirro questioned why “Hillary Clinton needs her husband to come out and speak on her behalf.” In response, state Democratic Chairman Herman Farrell characterized Pirro as a “flailing candidate” who “should try offering New Yorkers a positive vision instead of the same old tired attacks.”

Cindy vs. Hillary. Iraq War protester Cindy Sheehan recently visited New York and warned the state’s junior senator to end her support for the war in Iraq, or else. Sheehan told a packed Brooklyn church with an audience of about 300 people that Hillary “knows the war is a lie,” but because of her political ambitions refuses to voice any opposition. In fact, said Sheehan, Hillary is “waiting for the best political moment to say” she opposes the war. Then came an explicit threat: “You say it, or you’re losing your job,” a remark that provoked a roar of approval from the audience. After the 15-minute speech, Sheehan said she has requested a meeting with Clinton.

DHS Says ‘No’ to HRC. The Department of Homeland Security to going forward with its plan to require U.S. citizens re-entering the United States from Canada to present a passport at the border, starting in 2008. Hillary, however, objects to this seemingly common-sense border protection measure. She wrote to Appropriations subcommittee chairmen in the Senate and House, urging them to support an amendment in the Senate version of the Homeland Security spending bill to block the passport requirement by denying the department money to implement it. Although the amendment was approved by the Senate in July, it is not in the House version of the bill, and House-Senate conferees are currently meeting to reconcile the two versions. She wrote, “There is tremendous concern among New Yorkers that this passport requirement would devastate the tourism and retail industry on both sides of the Canadian-American border.”

Getting Honored. Hillary was recently presented with the 2005 Award of Merit by the Military Coalition, a partnership of 36 military and veterans associations representing more than 6 million members. She and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) were honored for their efforts to expand health-care benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve and their families. Both are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Said Hill: “Our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much to protect the freedoms that we enjoy, and we owe it to them to give our full support while they are in uniform and after they retired from service.”