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The BBC's Jane Hughes in New York
Hillary's troubles with New York's women
 real 28k

Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Hillary Clinton faces senate television debate
Hillary Clinton
Television test waits for the First Lady
Hillary Clinton faces a key test in her bid to become senator for New York on Wednesday evening (2300 GMT) when for the first time she faces her Republican rival Rick Lazio in a live televised debate.

Polls show the two candidates neck and neck and the debate comes as the election campaign has become more acrimonious.

Lazio shakes hands with Yasser Arafat
Lazio's controversial handshake with Arafat
The White House stepped into the campaign at the weekend, releasing a 1998 photograph of Mr Lazio shaking hands with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, during a trip to the Middle East. The photograph is likely to reduce his standing with New York's large Jewish population.

Hillary, who was criticised last year for kissing Arafat's wife, said the photograph showed Mr Lazio's actions seldom matched his words.

"That describes his Congressional voting record, it describes his campaign...people in New York need to know that there's a big difference between what he says and what he does," she said.

Mr Lazio says the photograph shows again how the White House is using official resources to help the president's wife gain public office.

"Once again , taxpayer dollars are being used to further the Clinton campaign...it's wrong," he told reporters.

History made

On Tuesday, Mrs Clinton made a small piece of history by becoming the first First Lady to win an election - the Democratic primary for New York - in which she easily defeated her opponent, Mark McMahon.

Afterwards she promised to campaign strongly: "I will continue to work hard...to earn the opportunity to represent the people of New York."

Rick Lazio
Lazio - "I'm a life-long New Yorker"
Mr Lazio - now in his fourth term as Republican congressman for Long Island - was unopposed in the Republican primary.

He has made much of his local origins in the campaign. "You can tell from my accent I'm a life-long New Yorker", he once said, "I don't have to fake it."

Mrs Clinton's opponents see the fact that she had never lived or worked in New York State before last year as a campaign weakness.

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See also:

20 May 00 | Americas
Rick Lazio: NY underdog
17 Jan 00 | Vote USA 2000
Hillary bites the Big Apple
12 Sep 00 | Americas
Women find fault with Hillary
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