Dov States His Case To Hillary

August 24, 2000 - The New York Post - Gregg Birnbaum and Robert Hardt Jr.

Hillary Rodham Clinton got an earful yesterday from one of her toughest Jewish critics - Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who pressed the first lady on freedom for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

Clinton and Hikind (D-Brooklyn) held a 11/2-hour session behind closed doors in Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's office in Manhattan, a meeting also attended by Silver and a handful of aides.

Absent from the meeting was Clinton's chief Jewish adviser, Karen Adler, who is not well-regarded among the Orthodox Jews whom Hikind represents.

Hikind, who has said he will make an endorsement in the Senate race next month, told The Post the meeting was "extremely constructive."

"I was very strong in bringing some of the [Jewish] community's concerns to her," said Hikind, who also raised the issue of certain anti-Israel Arabs being guests at the White House years ago.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said only, "It was a productive meeting."

The first lady - who is struggling to win support among Jewish voters - has not taken a position on whether Pollard, a ex-U.S. Navy intelligence officer serving a life sentence for spying for Israel, should be granted clemency.

Neither has her Senate opponent, Rick Lazio.

Lazio is set to deliver the first major policy speech of his campaign today, unveiling an economic and tax-cutting plan in Buffalo.

The size of Lazio's proposed federal tax-trimming package will fall between the one offered by Vice President Al Gore, of about $500 million, and that put forward by George W. Bush, for about $1.3 trillion.

Also yesterday, Clinton chastised her Republican rival for not backing federal hate-crimes legislation - but Lazio shot back that he already is on record supporting the measure.

The Lazio campaign distributed a June 28 New York Post article, in which Lazio is quoted saying he backed the hate-crimes bill and would vote for it.

The proposal would extend current bias-crime law to cover sexual orientation, gender and disability.

In another development, the Center for Responsive Politics calculated that the Clinton-Lazio contest is the nation's most costly Senate race, with the candidates having raised $49.2 million. The runner-up is the New Jersey battle, which came in at $48.1 million.

See Also:
  • Hillary Seen Eyeing Pollard Clemency Call
  • Hillary & Hikind

  • Return to Senate Race page