The Hillary Challenge

The Forward, City Desk - December 24, 1999

A Democratic challenger, albeit an unknown political maverick, is seeking the nomination for the seat being vacated by Senator Moynihan next year. Dr. Mark McMahon, a Manhattan physician, said he will challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton because, he says, "Hillary will have to earn the Democratic nomination; we are not just going to hand it to her."

Doctor McMahon, a 38-year-old Catholic, is making several issues of importance to the Jewish community cornerstones of his campaign. He supports clemency for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard and said in a statement, "I will be a maverick on behalf of Israel." Still, Doctor McMahon has a ways to go on opposition research: he said Mrs. Clinton opposed freeing Pollard, while the first lady has not taken a position on this issue. But Doctor McMahon is already homing in on Mrs. Clinton's perceived weaknesses. "Being born and raised in New York, and growing up where lots of my friends are Jewish, I think I'm more in tune with issues relative to Israel," he said. "Mrs. Clinton makes her judgment on focus groups or information polls. With me, it's more an inherent belief and sense of what the United States needs to do to protect Israel."

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