The Contenders

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The Independent Online
HILLARY RODDAM CLINTON

PROFILE: Higher than Everest. No political candidate before her has such built-in name recognition. Wherever she travels, the people and the press will clamour to see her and shake her hand.

MONEY: No problem. To fight the race, she will need a $25m war chest. Star-status and her party's hunger for the New York seat mean dollars will arrive in torrents.

EXPERIENCE ON THE STUMP: Almost zero. Has ridden the train to the highest political household in America on the locomotive of Bill.

BACKGROUND: Lawyer. Studied for law at Wellesley and in Illinois and rose to become a partner in the fabled Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas.

POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTS: More like flops. Remembered primarily for failure in early part of husband's presidency to convince Congress to embrace universal health care.

MAIN LIABILITIES: May be too famous to connect with voters. Perceived as a carpetbagger - an outsider. White House scandals may return to plague her.

SEX: May benefit from her husband's well-documented infidelities. As the wife who remained stalwart during Monicagate, she may win sympathy from women voters.

GEOGRAPHIC STRENGTHS: Can expect very strong support in Giuliani's own backyard. New York City has long been enamoured of the Clintons.

PARTY SUPPORT: Huge. Only other possible candidate for Democratic nomination was Nita Lowey. A Hillary pal, she recently withdrew and gave her some of her staff.

PROSPECTS: Would a win in the New York Senate race be a stepping stone to running for the biggest job of all - the one now held by her husband? Many people think so. Watch out for Hillary for President, 2008.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI

PROFILE: Alpine elevation, at least. As a big-city mayor, Giuliani has had exceptional success in achieving national notoriety as the warrior who felled the dragon that used to be crime-infested Gotham.

MONEY: Has some in the bank already. Anti-Clinton sentiment should assure the Republican tap runs fast. He may have a problem if party fragments and fails to unite around his candidacy.

EXPERIENCE ON THE STUMP: In his second term as New York City Mayor, Giuliani knows how to don the boxing gloves.

BACKGROUND: Lawyer. Rose to prominence as a state prosecutor in the Manhattan district in the 1980s. Earned tough-guy reputation prosecuting Mafia dons.

POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTS: Crime, crime and crime. Since coming into office in 1992, has presided over a 70 per cent drop in violent crime and homicides in New York City.

MAIN LIABILITIES: Has dismal record with minorities. Hit with two police brutality scandals in New York City. Minorities in the city will flock to his opponent.

SEX: Must be take care on all things sex and fidelity. Has dressed in drag for political reviews and Saturday Night Live.

GEOGRAPHIC STRENGTHS: Polls show him being crushed by Clinton in the city. Best areas: the suburbs where they love his crime-beating ways.

PARTY SUPPORT: May face a fight for nomination from Long Island Reps Rick Lazio and/or Peter King. Sections of party consider Giuliani too polarising.

PROSPECTS: Until a few months ago was considered possible presidential material because of his anti-crime successes in New York City. That dream faded but it could return if he makes it to the Senate.

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