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Hillary Clinton reflects on anniversary of Senate campaign

July 7, 2000
Web posted at: 6:38 p.m. EDT (2238 GMT)

ELMIRA, New York (CNN) -- Exactly one year ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped onto the farm of New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and into the history books as she became the only first lady ever to run for elective office.

Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton, (D) New York Senate candidate  
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Clinton reflects on the past year.

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Clinton rejects the idea that an elected official's life must be an open book.

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Friday marks the anniversary of the launch of her Senate exploratory campaign and the first lady paused to reflect during an interview aboard her campaign bus.

"It's just been a learning experience. It has been a challenge to feel comfortable doing it," the first lady said Friday. "I asked myself all during this past year -- I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons. That I could make a contribution. That I could make a difference and I feel good about that. The experience has been great for me personally."

After a summer and fall "listening tour" of the New York, Clinton, a Democrat, announced last November that she did intend to run for the seat being vacated by Moynihan after 24 years in Congress.

When asked if she had any regrets, Mrs. Clinton said, "You know mostly this has been a great experience for me. I've learned a lot. I've tried to learn every day and I had to learn how to be a candidate."

"Those of you who were with me early on. I hope have seen a difference ... I sure tried to be more effective in becoming a candidate which is something I had never done before."

She's in the midst of a five-day upstate campaign trip, her longest yet since formally launching her candidacy in February.

Clinton travels this second day on the road from Ithaca to Elmira and Corning before ending her day in Jamestown. Her trip concludes Monday in Albany.

Clinton and baby
Clinton greets one of her younger supporters.  

Meanwhile, her Republican opponent, Rep. Rick Lazio, concludes a five-day bus tour of his own on Friday in the Rochester.

Candidate Clinton, a year into her historic Senate bid, has immersed herself in the complicated politics of the Empire State.

Once aloof, she is now more accessible to the press than ever. She is no longer stilted on the stump or in a crowd. But Mrs. Clinton believes her husband -- President Clinton -- is still the best campaigner she's ever seen.

"I'm a baby campaigner. I'm in the toddler stage," she says in comparison. But the first lady has maintained a frenetic pace -- sometimes campaigning seven days a week and that schedule of meeting voters will only intensify in the months ahead.

 
ELECTION 2000

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