Slur Controversy Builds in New York
— -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is again denying an allegation that she made ananti-Semitic remark in 1974. And the first lady implied that the charge fits thecampaign tactics used by her Senate rival, Rick Lazio.
ABCNEWS.comNEW YORK, July 17— Calling it a “particularly offensive, false accusation,” first lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted again today that she did not use an anti-Semitic slur in 1974, as a new book alleges.
The Democratic candidate for New York’s open Senate seat also added another dimension to the controversy today, implying that the charges fit with campaign tactics being used by her Republican opponent, Rep. Rick Lazio.
“I’m going to run a campaign of issues, not insults,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters after a campaign event on Ellis Island this afternoon, adding, “You just have to look at my opponent’s fund-raising letters,” to find personal attacks on her coming from the Lazio campaign.
But Mrs. Clinton did not explicitly say that she agreed with her husband, who suggested that the Lazio campaign has been dishing such dirt on the first lady — something Lazio publicly repudiated this afternoon.
“It’s sort of a sad, disappointing fact of the campaign that the Clintons are never to blame,” said Lazio after a campaign event in Harlem. “It’s always somebody else’s fault, whenever they’ve done something wrong.”
In an interview with the New York Daily News published today, President Clinton said, “There was a New York Times story last week where Lazio’s people said if she can be made the issue, maybe we can squeak by … the only thing they have left is character assassination.”
Despite the first lady’s comments, Lazio hardly backed away from addressing the issue.
“You know, there have been three people that have made this, what I think is a serious allegation,” Lazio said. “Mrs. Clinton has denied that allegation. I don’t know who to believe. I don’t think New Yorkers know who to believe. And therein lies a good deal of the problem.… Trust and integrity and credibility are important issues in this campaign.”