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Hillary Pushes Gun Control

At a "listening tour" stop in Long Island, N.Y. Wednesday, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., called on Americans to support more gun control.

McCarthy got into politics after her husband was killed and her son seriously wounded by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road.

Mrs. Clinton made her remarks at the South Side Middle School in Nassau County. She later told several hundred kids in the summer school program about a child she recently met who accidentally shot his best friend with his father's gun.

On other issues, Mrs. Clinton said New York is not getting its share of revenue from the federal government and should form a coalition with other large states like California and Illinois to fight for their share of the federal pie.

She says New York sends $14.2 billion more to Washington than it gets back.

After lunch with Suffolk County Democratic leaders, Mrs. Clinton was headed back to Nassau County for a discussion of health issues in Great Neck. She's expected to return to Washington Thursday afternoon after holding a fund-raiser in Manhattan.

The first lady has met with adoration and criticism during her "listening tour" throughout New York state, as she considers a run for the U.S. Senate.

Mrs. Clinton heard New Yorkers' thoughts on welfare reform and education in suburban New York City Tuesday. Later, hundreds flocked to Jones Beach in Long Island, where the first lady chatted with sun-seekers.

Mrs. Clinton was surrounded by adoring fans, unable to move without someone asking her to pose for a picture. She gladly did, reports Correspondent Marcia Kramer of CBS station WCBS-TV.

But it was tough going earlier for the first lady in Westchester, when Sarah Stern, a mother of three, confronted Mrs. Clinton at Westchester Community College, seeking the first ladyÂ's position on the controversial issue of teacher tenure and getting rid of bad teachers.

Â"I know that as a parent there are some teachers I hope my children do not get,Â" Stern said.

Mrs. Clinton dodged the question, which didnÂ't sit well with Stern.

Â"SheÂ's a masterful politician. I asked a tough question and she deflected it,Â" Stern said. Â"I would expect no less from a Clinton.Â"

Mrs. Clinton expressed support for:

  • universal pre-kindergarten, which New York state has declined to fund
  • making college tuition tax-deductible and
  • a federal initiative to pay for school construction that the White House has backed but Congress has not
Meanwhile, according to the latest independent statewide survey from Marist College, voters still favor Giuliani over Mrs. Clinton.

The results showed that the Republican mayor has the support of 47 percent of voters while the first lady is favored by 41 percent. The poll also shows that one-third of voters say they're concerned that Mrs. Clinton is not from New York.

In January and February, Marist polls showed thfirst lady leading Giuliani.

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