Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate on February 6, and she did so by sending the wrong message to Catholics. “I’ll be on your side in the fight against school vouchers, which drain taxpayer dollars from our public schools,” she told the crowd at SUNY Purchase, the Westchester campus of the State University of New York.

However, on December 14, 1999, Mrs. Clinton told 100 Orthodox Jewish leaders that she would back certain “constitutionally correct” methods for government to help private schools. On December 17, Catholic League president William Donohue wrote to Mrs. Clinton asking for clarification but she never responded.

On another matter, just prior to Mrs. Clinton’s announcement, her campaign operatives blasted the song “Captain Jack” to her crowd of admirers. “Your sister’s gone out, she’s on a date and you just sit at home and masturbate,” is how the lyrics read. Other lyrics put a positive spin on pornography and drugs.

The Catholic League, along with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, led a chorus of criticism against Mrs. Clinton. Here is what we told the press:

“Bishop Mark Hurley recently criticized Vice President Al Gore for feeding anti-Catholicism by constantly maintaining that vouchers drain money from public schools. Now Mrs. Clinton is at it, only this time her ‘fight against vouchers’ campaign comes on the heels of promising to deliver on offering public assistance to private schools. She needs to make up her mind on this issue and she needs to do so without offending Catholic sensibilities.

“It cannot be argued that playing a patently offensive song prior to welcoming Mrs. Clinton was a mistake. No, Mrs. Clinton’s operatives wanted to send a message and they succeeded. It is mind-boggling that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chiefs would want to flag a sexually irresponsible song as a way of introducing her to New York. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot.”

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