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Hillary Clinton Fields Questions During Senate Confirmation Hearing

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TWC News: Hillary Clinton Fields Questions During Senate Confirmation Hearing
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Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier today, Senator Hillary Clinton vowed to renew American leadership abroad through a mix of diplomacy and defense during her confirmation hearings for secretary of state. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report from the nation's capital.

From the tone of the hearing Tuesday, there was no doubt Hillary Clinton is on the fast track to becoming the next US Secretary of State.

"Her presence overseas will send the message that America is back," said Senator John Kerry.

Mixed in with the accolades were questions about potential conflicts of interest created by her husband's global business dealings.

"The Clinton Foundation exists as a temptation for any foreign entity of government that believes it can curry favor through a donation," said Senator Richard Lugar.

The inquiries about the work of former US President Bill Clinton were mild, but they came up more than once during the all-day hearing. Senator Lugar called on Bill Clinton to stop accepting contributions from foreign governments, while another Republican asked for more disclosure on future donations.

"No President has ever disclosed the contributions to his foundation, so when he agreed to disclose the contributions to his foundation that was a very unprecedented event," said Clinton.

The bulk of the hearing was on the issues. Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea was in the room, called for a foreign policy that mixes military might with a heathy dose of diplomacy.

"I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called "smart power," the full range of tools at our disposal," said Clinton.

Those tools will be aimed at solving global problems. When it comes to preventing Iran from going nuclear, Clinton said all options are on the table. And she insisted that despite all the recent violence, stability is possible in the middle east.

"We can't give up on peace in the middle east," said Clinton.

The senate foreign relations committee is expected to vote on Clinton's nomination on Thursday, and it's likely she will be confirmed by the full senate next week.

Governor Still Mum On Future Of Clinton's Senate Seat

Meanwhile, Governor David Paterson says he still plans to wait until Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state before he picks her replacement in the U.S. Senate.

Paterson yesterday was joined by the state's senior Senator Charles Schumer and joked about another option to replace Clinton.

"I know you all want to talk about the Senate and so here it is: I propose that the Senate seat be given to Senator Schumer a second time," said Paterson. "Look at what we save. He doesn't need another office. He doesn't need any additional staff. He does the work of two; let Charles do it."

The governor and Schumer joined forces in Albany to push for the president's new stimulus package.

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