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Rupert Murdoch to host a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton
Birds of a feather

May 19, 2006 | Page 2

NICOLE COLSON reports on a blossoming new political friendship.

SEN. HILLARY Clinton (D-N.Y.) made headlines last week when it was revealed that she has a new powerhouse supporter--right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

In a showcase of what pundits call Clinton's new "pragmatic" approach to politics, Murdoch will host a fundraiser for the senator's re-election campaign this summer. "I am very gratified that he thinks I am doing a good job," Clinton said as the announcement was made.

The announcement might seem to be a surprise--considering that Murdoch, a pro-war billionaire who never passes up an opportunity to trash the left in his media franchises like Fox News, spent the better part of Bill Clinton's presidency ruthlessly attacking the "liberal" administration.

But that probably isn't bothering Hillary Clinton. Since her election as senator in 2000, she has embraced every opportunity to distance herself from the Democratic Party's liberal wing, on issues ranging from abortion rights to the war in Iraq.

Today, Clinton is so far ahead in both the polls and fundraising for her reelection that pundits say she doesn't need Murdoch's help. Instead, her fundraising alliance with Murdoch is seen as a way to bolster her conservative credentials in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.

"Certainly, there will be people on the left that may not like this relationship [with Murdoch]," Democratic party consultant Hank Sheinkopf told Britain's Guardian, "but the fact that she could forge it speaks well of her ability to build consensus." "To be president, you've got to win the support of white Catholic men in the Midwest. They don't tolerate shrieking, and they don't tolerate polarizers," he added.

Not only is Clinton not "shrieking" these days, but she can hardly be heard uttering a whisper in defense of liberal positions. On the same day that a New York Times poll put Bush's approval ratings at an all-time low of 31 percent last week, Clinton praised the president for his "charm and charisma."

Murdoch is hardly the first right-winger that Clinton has buddied up with. Last year, for example, she teamed up with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to promote a bipartisan health care proposal, declaring that she and Gingrich had "a lot in common in the way we see" the issues of health care and national security.

Meanwhile, from Murdoch's point of view, with Clinton's reelection a fairly certain bet and the Republican Party in a tailspin, it makes sense to curry a little favor with the other party of big business.

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