Sen. Clinton: Rove Spends Time Obsessing About Me

Reacting to a new book quoting Karl Rove as saying she will be the 2008 Democratic nominee for president, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that President Bush's chief political strategist "spends a lot of time obsessing about me."

Noting that Rove and his White House aides have met regularly with her possible opponents in the 2006 Senate race, Clinton said, "He spends more time thinking about my political future than I do."

The former first lady said she believed Rove, national GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman and other Republicans are using her to divert attention from Republican problems as the 2006 congressional elections approach.

"Karl Rove is a brilliant strategist. So, if I were thinking about this," she said to WROW-AM radio in Albany, "I'd say why are they spending so much time talking about me?"

"What they're hoping is that all of their missteps, which are now numbering in the hundreds, are going to somehow be overlooked because people, instead of focusing on the '06 election, will jump ahead and think about the next one," Clinton said.

In a new book out Monday from Regnery Publishing, "Strategery" by veteran reporter Bill Sammon, Rove is quoted as saying: "She is the dominant player on their side of the slate. Anybody who thinks that she's not going to be the candidate is kidding themselves."

Nonetheless, Rove also says he thinks Clinton could have difficulty in the general election, in part, because there is a "brittleness about her." That seems to mirror recent comments by Mehlman that Clinton "seems to have a lot of anger" and that Americans don't elect angry presidential candidates.

There was no immediate comment Monday from Rove.

Clinton again Monday refused to be pinned down on whether she would run for the White House, repeating her mantra that she is completely focused on re-election this year.

Asked if it was unfair to New York voters to not tell them whether she might run for president in two years, Clinton said: "Any New Yorker who worries about what might happen in the future should certainly take that into consideration."

Statewide polls have shown Clinton well ahead of her potential GOP Senate challengers and national polls show her leading the field of potential 2008 Democratic presidential contenders.

Currently, former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer is the leading contender for the GOP Senate nomination, but a former top Pentagon official under President Reagan, Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland, may enter the race.

In a letter to New York's 62 county GOP chairmen last week, McFarland asked them to consider her for the nomination. She was meeting Monday with top county leaders from western New York.