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Wednesday, February 17, 1999 Published at 01:57 GMT

World: Americas

Hillary Clinton: I may run for Senate

Mr Clinton has said his wife would be a ''terrific'' senator

President Bill Clinton's wife, Hillary, has said she is giving ''careful thought'' to running for the United States Senate.

BBC Washington Correspondent Philippa Thomas: "Hillary Clinton is especially popular in New York"
She said she would decide whether to stand for the New York seat later this year. It is the first time she has spoken openly about the issue.

Her comments come two days after President Clinton said his wife would make a ''terrific'' senator and he would support her if she decided to run for office.

In a brief statement issued on Wednesday, Mrs Clinton said she was "deeply gratified" by the interest a potential candidacy had generated.

Philippa Thomas: "Hilary has become a political star"
"Up until now, I have not been able to do so, but I will give careful thought to a potential candidacy in order to reach a decision later this year.

"In the meantime, I intend to continue to focus my attention on the issues central to the president's agenda and on which we have worked together for many years," she said.

'Magnificent enthusiasm'

The New York seat is currently held by Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan who is retiring next year. He recently praised Mrs Clinton's "magnificent, young, bright, able, Illinois-Arkansas enthusiasm".

[ image: In polls, Mrs Clinton has beaten Mr Giuliani]
In polls, Mrs Clinton has beaten Mr Giuliani
Under New York State's loose residency requirements a candidate only has to be a resident on Election Day to run for the Senate.

If Mrs Clinton does decide to run she will probably be up against popular New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who is expected to stand as the Republican candidate.

On Monday, President Clinton fired the Washington rumour mill by saying he would support his wife if she wanted to run.

"I think she would be terrific in the Senate,'' he said.''But it's her decision to make. I will support whatever decision she makes enthusiastically."

But the president said the idea of running for the Senate did not come from his wife. "I think it's important that everyone understands that people in New York started calling her. I don't think it ever occurred to her before a lot of people started calling and asking her to do it," he added.

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