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The BBC's Jane Hughes
"There are four weeks left to go and both sides know everything could still change"
 real 28k

Monday, 9 October, 2000, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Hillary, Lazio in second face off
Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton shake hands
Both candidates took a more civilised approach after last time
By Jane Hughes in New York

The First Lady, Hillary Clinton and her opponent in the New York Senate race Rick Lazio clashed over questions of health care, education and campaign finance reform, in a second head-to-head TV debate.

Hillary Clinton had the upper hand going into this. She has been ahead in the polls since her first debate with Rick Lazio last month when he was criticised for being too aggressive.

This time rather than attacking Mrs Clinton's personality he took her on on a vulnerable issue - the failed health care plan she launched in the first year of the Clinton Presidency.

"Mrs Clinton's plan in 1993 would have been an unmitigated disaster for New York," he said.

"No New Yorker would ever written a bill that would have led to 75,000 jobs being destroyed, health care rationing and the destruction of many of our teaching hospitals which are an incredible asset to New York."

Polished performance

But in the rough and tumble world of New York politics Mrs Clinton has learnt to give as good as she gets, and she hit back at her opponent for breaking an agreement they reached over campaign financing.

"Last month Mr Lazio said that this was an issue of trust and character - he was right," she said.

"If New Yorkers can't trust him to keep his word for 10 days how can they trust him for six years, on issues like social security, medicare, prescription drugs and education?"

President Bill Clinton is said to have helped his wife prepare for this debate and his expertise showed.

Her performance was polished while Rick Lazio appeared inexperienced in comparison.

But there are four weeks left to go and both sides know everything could still change.

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See also:

14 Sep 00 | Americas
Hillary attacked in TV debate
20 May 00 | Americas
Rick Lazio: NY underdog
12 Sep 00 | Americas
Women find fault with Hillary
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