Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Clinton Fires Back After Being Labeled 'Angry' and 'Left-Wing'

ABC News
Clinton Fires Back After Being Labeled 'Angry' and 'Left-Wing'
Senator Responds to GOP Leader's Comments on 'This Week'

Feb. 6, 2006 — - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., returned fire today against a GOP leader's charge that she hails from the "angry," left-wing of her party.

While speaking to reporters by telephone about President Bush's new budget, Clinton laughed off Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's recent remarks about her made on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

The former first lady said Republicans in Washington would be better off focusing on issues like Medicare and Head Start and "adopting different policies instead of talking about matters that have no impact on the lives of the people I represent."

She made similar comments earlier in the day while visiting a Head Start classroom in Manhattan.

While appearing on "This Week," Mehlman departed from Bush's recent characterization of Clinton as a "formidable" presidential candidate and suggested that she would not be successful because voters dislike "angry candidates."

"Hillary Clinton seems to have a lot of anger," Mehlman told Stephanopoulos. "I don't think the American people, if you look historically, elect angry candidates."

He also slammed what he called her "very left-wing" record.

Clinton, who is seeking re-election to the Senate in November, is widely considered to be laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2008.

She currently leads potential 2008 presidential candidates with $17.1 million in total cash on-hand for a potential White House run, according to Federal Election Commission reports compiled by The Hotline.

The potential 2008 presidential candidates closest to Clinton are Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., with $15.6 million, and Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., with $10.8 million. The leading Republican fundraiser at this point is Sen. George Allen, R-Va., with $6.4 million.

Clinton laughed off Mehlman's remarks while attacking the president's 2007 budget as suffering from misplaced priorities.

"The clear message of this budget is, 'You're on your own,'" she said.

RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt responded to Clinton's comments by saying, "We are going to let Ken's statement stand."

ABC News' Dan Nechita and Mike Westling contributed to this report.