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Hillary will live in New York. But on her own?

HILLARY RODHAM Clinton has finally spoken out on her plans for New York. She will move here after the end of next year when her husband is done at the White House. But her remarks, made on a television programme to be broadcast tonight, leave other questions - political and marital - entirely unanswered.

First, the political: will she or won't she? (Run for a New York seat in the US Senate in next year's elections, that is). At four appearances in New York City on Monday, she offered no clues on that score whatsoever. The word from Washington says emphatically that she will be running, but we are unlikely to get an official statement until next week. And then Mrs Clinton need only announce the formation of an exploratory committee to investigate the possibility of running. Then there was the marital question. It came up during the taping of an interview with the CBS anchorman Dan Rather for this evening's edition of the news magazine, 60 Minutes II. Ducking the Senate issue, she did respond when asked which of New York's two baseball teams, the Yankees and the Mets, she would be most likely to support. She said: "The politic answer, since I do plan to live in New York no matter what I end up doing, is I'll root for both." The New York Times reports that the First Lady has asked staff members to hunt for a house somewhere in the northern suburbs of the city in West- chester County. That New York will be the new Clinton home, rather than Arkansas, is no big surprise. But what about that singular pronoun she used in her answer to Mr Rather? Are we to understand that she will be coming to the Apple but her less-than-faithful husband will not?

Among those rushing to squelch all gossip on this score was CBS itself. A spokesman for the network, Kevin Tedesco, insisted there was no significance in the use of "I" rather than "we", since the First Lady used "we" in other parts of the interview about First Family plans. Aides to Mrs Clinton were also swift to deflect us from drawing elaborate conclusions. Marsha Berry, her spokeswoman, said that Mrs Clinton "and the President have discussed that they would like to live in New York, long before she was approached about this race". One of Mrs Clinton's duties on Monday was to attend a fund-raiser for Nita Lowey, a Democrat representative from Westchester. It was an event replete with irony. Ms Lowey has declared her interest in running for the New York Senate seat, being vacated by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Mrs Clinton was on hand to help her to raise money for such a bid. But Ms Lowey has promised to withdraw if Mrs Clinton decides to try for the seat. "I am proud to march forward shoulder to shoulder with my friend, Hillary Rodham Clinton," Ms Lowey declared, betraying nothing of the awkwardness of the position. Instead, she confronted it with humour. "We are united and we are confident that on November 7 2000, New York will elect its first woman to the United States Senate," she said.