Pierce, Greg, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Peggy Noonan, the author and former speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and Bush, was impressed by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign debut Wednesday in upstate New York.
"Hand it to her. Hillary Clinton had a spectacular day," Mrs. Noonan said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Mrs. Noonan said Mrs. Clinton is doing two things right: nailing down her base on the left, and "absorbing attacks."
"For the next nine months or so she'll be playing rope-a-dope, exhausting her foes by taking every blow they can throw. She's doing this now because right now, it doesn't matter what is said of her.
"A year from now, when it matters, if New York's pundits - the Dunleavies and Dowds, the Brookhisers and Breslins - are still attacking her, they will look obsessed and winded.
"She will look long-suffering and glistening. The criticisms of '99 will be but a memory. Reporters will be reduced to covering her latest proposals. She knows this. Her people know this. It's why, right now, they don't mind attacks."
Mrs. Noonan added: "[Wednesday] was a very good day for Mrs. Clinton because it gave her wall-to-wall great coverage. But that may turn out to be good news for Republicans, in the same way that an alarm clock going off at the right time is good news. It rings, you hear it, you wake up and get dressed and stop dreaming and go to work."
A 19-hour blackout in one of New York's poorest neighborhoods gave Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani a golden opportunity to demonstrate his crisis-management skills as he heads toward an expected U.S. Senate race against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Reuters reports.
Political observers said yesterday that the blackout could not have happened on a better day for the Republican mayor because Mrs. Clinton, his likely Democratic opponent in the 2000 U.S. Senate race, was in New York for the start of a heavily publicized campaign-style tour.
"What better moment for a small, manageable catastrophe to strike New York City than the very day that Hillary Rodham Clinton went to an upstate farm on her gimmicky Listening Tour?" wrote New York Daily News columnist Jim Dwyer. "Rudy Giuliani, blackout boy, was back in Washington Heights on a Doing Tour."
Residents in the densely populated Washington Heights area in upper Manhattan were without electricity in sweltering heat from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Mr. Giuliani, known as a 24-hour-a-day mayor who visits the site of almost every large or small city catastrophe, sent extra police and city workers to provide safety, assistance and shelter.
He also vowed to sue Consolidated Edison Inc., which provides electricity to millions, after accusing the company of failing to have a solid backup plan in times of increased demand.
"People are going to be talking about this for a long time," said columnist Jimmy Breslin.
CLOSE TO HOME
Shots were fired last night near the hotel in Utica, N.Y., that was serving as a base for Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign.
No injuries were reported and the first lady was not in danger.
A man opened fire about 9 p.m. in a parking lot across the street from the rear of the Radisson Hotel, said restaurant manager Deni Frederick.
"The police responded and are dealing with it as a bar brawl," she said.
Campaign staffers and reporters from around the world are booked at the hotel. Most of them were out during the incident. Aides said Mrs. Clinton spent the night at a private residence.
BUSH CHANGES MIND
A day after aides said there was no time in his schedule, Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush decided yesterday to make an impromptu appearance at a conference of minority journalists.
About 6,000 journalists from around the country were attending the Unity '99 conference in Seattle. …