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Vote USA 2000 Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 08:10 GMT
The first First Lady in the Senate
Hillary Clinton
Hillary steps out of Bill's shadow
By Mark Devenport in New York

Supporters of Hillary Clinton in New York were confident at her election night rally, especially when they found out that turnout was high in the city.

They came to the rally, expecting a victory rally, and by the time that the polls closed, most US networks were already predicting a victory for her.

Polarising figure

There was a moment for jitteriness when one projection showed Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio running neck and neck.

But soon after Mr Lazio made his concession speech, it was a case for Mrs Clinton's supporters of just getting on with the celebration.

She did not get into specifics about what she wanted to do once she entered office, but she said that she would try to represent all shades of New York opinion.

She did talk about kind of issues she campaigned on, healthcare and education.

And she contrasted herself with her opponent, casting herself as a slightly left of centre Democrat and her opponent as a Newt Gingrich style Republican.

But ultimately, this race was not about issues, but about character.

New Yorkers either loved or hated Mrs Clinton, and the Republican Party tried to capitalise on that by running an aggressive campaign against her.

But, in the end it didn't pay off.

Living in Hillary's shadow

Her husband, President Bill Clinton, found himself in the new position of standing in his wife's shadow.
Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton now finds himself on the sidelines

Obviously, he knew this was coming, but this was the first time in 26 years that he was not on the ballot.

And this was the first time that I saw Bill Clinton on stage by Hillary without speaking at all. He simply beamed from the sidelines.

Senator Charles Schumer did pay a tribute to Mr Clinton, but the president knew that this was his wife's moment and a beginning of a new era.

He knows that a Clinton will still be at the forefront of US politics, but it won't be him.

See also:

08 Nov 00 | Americas
25 Oct 00 | Profiles
20 May 00 | Profiles
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