Flashback–Pirro at the Podium: Does Anyone Have Page 10?


Editor’s note:

Despite calls from key New York Republicans like Joe Bruno to drop out of the race, Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro told reporters today that she intends to challenge Senator Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senate in 2006.

Pirro met with Governor George Pataki today and emerging saying she was still in. Bruno had been one of several GOP leaders to suggest Pirro should run for attorney general instead. The big problem, says Newsday, is that Republicans haven’t got an obvious candidate-well, maybe one–to replace Pirro in the primary:

The natural big-name alternatives–former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Gov. George Pataki–have already turned thumbs down on the race and advisers to both maintained Friday they had no desire to reconsider. Giuliani and Pataki are both eyeing possible bids for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

So it’s Pirro, and as Kristen Lombardi wrote in August, the GOP might be stuck with a candidate who’s not exactly ready for primetime.

Pirro at the Podium: Does Anyone Have Page 10?

Hillary opponent has rocky voyage into primetime

by Kristen Lombardi

August 10th, 2005 4:43 PM

On Wednesday morning, Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester district attorney, made it official: She’s planning a bid to take on Senator Hillary Clinton next year.

The high-profile prosecutor had picked a posh conference room at the Waldorf-Astoria, in Manhattan, to make the first of three scheduled appearances declaring her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. A throng of reporters, photographers, and television crews gathered for the staged debut of the hot, new GOP challenger.

Standing at the podium, before a blue banner that read JEANINE PIRRO, the experienced campaigner played the part well, instantly reinforcing her reputation as sharp, articulate, with-it politician-at least initially. Smiling under the camera lights, Pirro launched into her stump speech with aplomb, calling herself a “fighter, an advocate, and an agent for change.” She stressed her 30-year career in office, and her moderate views. She laid out her positions on controversial issues (“I support making President Bush’s tax cuts permanent. But I also support the right of a woman to choose. . . . I believe in immigration. . . . But I also believe in the Patriot Act.”) Building momentum, she took aim at her opponent, someone who “has shortchanged New York” and who “hasn’t delivered.”

“But I am not Hillary Clinton,” Pirro declared, pausing for effect. She segued flawlessly from the type of security she’s fought for at home to the types she’ll fight for on Capitol Hill-not just national security, but Social Security, medical security, economic security. “You will know where I stand on the issues,” Pirro trumpeted, staring at a fixed spot in the back of the room.

“Hillary Clinton,” she continued, and looked down at her notes. She then paused, mid-sentence, and said nothing. She shuffled through her notes, as seconds passed. Reporters shifted in their seats. Photographers flashed their cameras.

Then, in a muffled voice, Pirro asked her staffers, “Do you have page 10?”

Welcome, Ms. Pirro, to primetime.