By FREDRIC U. DICKER
August 9, 2005 -- ANALYSIS
ALBANY — If the best Jeanine Pirro can do right now is say that Hillary Clinton should be defeated because she may run for president in 2008, Republicans can pack it in and go home, political insiders agreed yesterday.
But Westchester County District Attorney Pirro's initial frontal attack on Clinton was just that yesterday, as she hammered the former first lady for — horror of horrors! — not pledging to serve a full six-year term.
Pirro said virtually nothing about how she differs with Clinton on key issues: the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism, New York's high taxes and the disastrous upstate economy, which is supposed to be dear to the heart of Elmira native Pirro.
Instead, Pirro repeatedly charged Clinton with using New Yorkers as a "doormat" because she won't vow to serve a second full term in office — something that several recent public opinion polls suggest many New Yorkers would like her to do.
"That's not enough to win on," said Marist College polling director Dr. Lee Miringoff.
"If she runs with that as her main theme, she runs the risk of becoming a one-note song the way Rick Lazio did in 2000, when he ran against Mrs. Clinton, calling her a carpetbagger for moving into New York to run," Miringoff continued.
Former state Republican Party Executive Director Brendan Quinn agreed, saying, "You need to have more substance than just saying, 'Serve six full years,' to convince the people to vote for you."
Meanwhile, Pirro came under attack, for allegedly not holding strong Republican positions, from would-be GOP primary rival Edward Cox, son-in-law of the late President Nixon.
"Ms. Pirro's limited record and her positions on the issues will prevent her from motivating Republican and Conservative voters," Cox said.
"That is simply a recipe for a resounding defeat," he added.
Also, state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long said some of Pirro's generally liberal social positions were troubling to conservatives.
"She's entitled to do what she wants to do, but I've been on record saying that I thought she would be an easier fit for our party's nomination if she ran for attorney general," said Long.
Mayor Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican, also refused to say he'd back Pirro in the Senate race.
"I've got a race with 95 odds days left to go . . . I'll worry about other elections after that time," Bloomberg told reporters.