Corzine Makes His
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York with Gov.
Jon S. Corzine Monday in Elizabeth, N.J., as he endorsed her
By DAVID W. CHEN,
NYTimes on the Web, April 3, 2007
ELIZABETH, N.J., Apr. -- For a
governor with a penchant for numbers, the calculus seemed apt: two
backbenchers, one presidential candidate, and an endorsement.
When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gov. Jon S. Corzine began their careers
as elected officials in the United States Senate ranked 97th and 98th in
seniority, they sat near each other in the back with all the other freshmen.
In short order, she recalled on Monday, the two Democrats elected in 2000 formed
a strong bond because of their similar views, regional connection and the shared
experience of 9/11.
So on Monday, in what was not a particularly well-kept secret, Mr. Corzine
officially endorsed Mrs. Clinton for president.
Speaking on the steps of City Hall here, Mr. Corzine went beyond the pep-rally
rhetoric that gets recycled election after election.
Instead, he declared, “I like her,” and described her as “the go-to senator” on
issue after issue and said she was the “most qualified person to be the
president of the United States — most qualified.”
Mr. Corzine said that of all the people he has worked with, in public or private
life, no one “gives more thoughtfulness, more care, more balance, in what she
does and how she comes to a decision, than Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
And he added: “She is not that racehorse and show horse that people talk
about. This is a workhorse.”
For her part, Mrs. Clinton effusively praised Mr. Corzine — “Jon,” she said
repeatedly, and not “Governor Corzine” — for investigating the collapse of Enron
and pushing legislation on chemical security and global warming. But she
said what truly united them was 9/11.
“You really do build a bond and a friendship,” she said. “Jon and I lived
it every single day.”
The endorsement came a day after Mrs. Clinton’s campaign reported raising a
record $26 million in the first quarter of this year.
Yet Mrs. Clinton is hardly considered a lock, with Senator Barack Obama of
Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina considered her
But if endorsements carry any political or financial weight these days, she had
a good day on Monday. Joining Mr. Corzine on a chilly and overcast day
were 100 elected officials from across the state, including Representatives
Robert E. Andrews and Frank Pallone Jr., Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr.
and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, the state Democratic Party chairman.
“I’m desperate to get back on the White House Christmas card list,” joked Mr.
“I used to get these beautiful Christmas cards signed ‘Bill and Hillary.’
Now, I’m going to get cards signed ‘Hillary and Bill.’ ”
Mrs. Clinton is not the first figure of presidential stature to pass through
Elizabeth, Mayor Chris Bollwage noted.
In 1789, George Washington had lunch with local officials before heading to New
York for his inauguration, and in 1984, President Ronald Reagan came to town and
received the endorsement of Mayor Thomas G. Dunn, a Democrat, on the City Hall