Dear Hillary, here's how to get into the Senate

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The Independent Online
BY NOW it's pretty clear to everyone that you're going to run for Senate. Your main goal has to be turning the curiosity people have about you into solid support by election day. I have a few thoughts on how you might do that. OK, so you haven't always taken my advice in the past. That never stopped me before, and it won't now.

First, winning is going to take a ton of cash. Just getting to the finish line will likely require $25m [pounds 16.6m]. That means you'll have to spend at least half of your time scraping for dollars.

The rest of the time you've got to be on the ground, convincing New Yorkers that you don't just want to be a senator - you want to be their senator. People are already grumbling that you're just an opportunistic carpet- bagger trying to use New York to push your agenda - and as a stepping stone to higher office. This is a serious problem. Face it head on, and dispel it quickly. Get close to the people. The motorcade and secret service detail separate you from ordinary folks. They need to see you as Hillary, not First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Spend time chatting in people's kitchens and living rooms, where they can touch you.

Which brings us to one of your least favourite subjects: the press. I know, they've given you nothing but heartache over the years. Too bad. Start wooing reporters now. Invite them to travel with you. Ask them in for private chats. You need to become such an ordinary part of the New York landscape that reporters no longer think of you as a curiosity. In fact, you actually want the press to get a little bored of you personally. Once the thrill is gone, they'll start writing about your ideas and not just your celebrity.

Just make sure you don't get too comfortable. Remember, you still have real enemies. Ken Starr isn't gone, and you have to be ready to answer tough questions about the Clinton scandals. Also, be prepared for [Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani's war room to blast you as a fair-weather friend of New York. Sure, you smartly distanced yourself from last week's proposed Medicare cuts; but the GOP [the Republicans] will dust off your 1994 healthcare plan, which even [Democrat, New York] Senator [Daniel P] Moynihan said would have damaged healthcare quality in the state. People may not care about your billing records, but they do care about their hospital bills. To win, you have to make the campaign about New York's future, not your past. Newsweek

George Stephanopoulos served in the Clinton administration as the senior adviser to the President on policy and strategy. He is now a news analyst for ABC

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