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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Transcript: Pataki wants a New Yorker to run for Sen. Moynihan's seat

Says he has no interest in Senate job

February 22, 1999
Web posted at: 12:35 p.m. EST (1735 GMT)

WASHINGTON (February 22) -- With speculation about first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's interest in New York's open U.S. Senate seat dominating the airwaves, CNN talked Monday to New York's Republican Gov. George Pataki about that 2000 race.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: The possibility of a Clinton-Giuliani face-off has a lot of people talking, including New York Governor George Pataki.

He joins us this morning from our bureau in Washington where he's attending the National Governor's Association meeting.

Good morning, Governor.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Good morning, nice being with you.

LIN: Thanks for joining us.

PATAKI: Thank you.

LIN: So, it looks like this fine woman from Washington is thinking about running for the Senate seat in New York. Do you think Hillary Clinton should give Rudy Giuliani a run for his money?

PATAKI: Well, you know, I asked her last night in the White House if she was going to become a New Yorker and you might be surprised to hear this, but she didn't tell me. So, I don't have any inside information, but let me put it this way, New York is a great state.

We have 18 million people, bright, talented and creative people. I would hope that a New Yorker -- out of those 18 million, we could find one, who could do a great job for the people of New York down in Washington.

LIN: Now, is it an assumption at this point that Rudy Giuliani is going to be the Senate Republican candidate?

PATAKI: Well, he hasn't said that. He hasn't declared his candidacy. He's expressed an indication and obviously, he'd be a strong candidate. He's been a very good mayor. But whether or not he in fact will run is something we don't know at this point.

LIN: Do you think that he would be the best candidate for the Republicans?

PATAKI: I think he'd be a very good candidate. The Republican Party is not without a lot of potentially good candidates, but obviously, when you have an elected Republican mayor in New York City, that's a very positive thing. So -- but he hasn't indicated whether or not he will in fact run.

LIN: Will you indicate whether you're planning on running for that Senate seat?

PATAKI: Oh, I clearly am not. I love being governor. It's -- I think it's the best job you could have and New York State is doing very well, but there's a lot more we want to do. So, I intend to stay as governor.

LIN: Well, Governor, if I may point out, you use the present tense, as in I am not. Will you be though considering it down the road?

PATAKI: Oh, no.

LIN: Or are you ruling it out completely at this time?

PATAKI: No, I'm ruling it out completely. I -- you never say never, but I have no interest in the U.S. Senate. I'd far prefer being governor and I am the governor of New York and it's a great job and the state is doing well and we have a lot more to do.

LIN: All right, well, as governor, you spent some time in Washington. Do you get the sense there that this impeachment drama is over for the Republicans and the Democrats?

PATAKI: I think so. It rarely came up. I know it's hard for people to believe that, but what we really are talking about are the issues that affect our states and affect our people.

We need action out of Washington. We don't -- all the governors are active in trying to raise educational standards and provide early testing for our children in the schools across our states.

And we need Washington to give us the flexibility and not impose new demands and new restrictions for every school district across America. So...

LIN: Well...

PATAKI: So, we'll have a very busy agenda looking forward and that's the way it should be.

LIN: Well, everybody seems to agree that education is going to be the big issue coming out Washington this year. President Clinton has basically said that he wants to set some standards for federal money for schools based -- tying that to student performance. Do you think that's a good idea?

PATAKI: Well, Carol, I think just think it's wrong for Washington to try to dictate to every school district in every state across America what they should do with federal dollars. It's the antithesis of what they did with welfare reform where they gave the states the ability to make decisions as to how to reform that system and it's worked very well.

We have some districts in New York that need improvements of facilities. We have some that need more teachers. We have some that need computers. They all have different needs.

And for Washington to try to dictate what every school district, not just in New York, but across America, does with federal dollars, in my view, is completely wrong. We are raising standards. We are achieving greater accountability.

We're beginning testing students in the third and fourth grade and putting in place programs so those who aren't progressing enough get the additional support and educational background that they need, but we do not need Washington dictating to every school district across America what to do with federal education dollars.

LIN: All right, Governor.

PATAKI: Let the districts make that decision.

LIN: Well, you can be sending that message personally at the White House today when you meet with President Clinton with the other governors.

PATAKI: We'll be doing that.

LIN: All right. Thanks so much for joining us.

PATAKI: Thank you, Carol.


TIME: A Senate candidate waiting in the wings? (3-15-99)

Hillary Clinton meets with New York Democratic leader (3-11-99)

Hillary Clinton associates believe she will run for Senate in 2000 (3-11-99)

First lady courts New Yorkers without confirming Senate bid (3-4-99)


CNN's John King is traveling with the first lady (3-4-99) video Windows Media: 28K | 80K


Pataki wants a New Yorker to run for Sen. Moynihan's seat (2-22-99)

Diplomatic issues

Mike Luckovich: "Diplomatic issues" (2-24-99) more

Bill Mitchell: "Godzhillary" (2-17-99) more


First lady leads in hypothetical New York Senate race (2-20-99)


Senator Hillary Clinton?

Goodwill tour


Monday, February 22, 1999

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