Lazio admits mistake in debate with Clinton

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Eight years ago, Rick Lazio walked across a debate stage in Buffalo and stuffed a campaign pledge in front of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That move, perceived as bullying and chauvinistic, cemented his place in political history as an example of what not to do during a debate with a female opponent, political experts said yesterday.

Lazio yesterday acknowledged in an interview that he made a mistake, mainly in underestimating how the audience would react to such a move.

"At the time, I was making a point about a campaign finance pledge that Mrs. Clinton had made and I didn't feel that it was being honored. I thought that was the opportunity to make the point. On substance, it was right - and on style and perception, it was a mistake, which I regret," said Lazio, then a member of Congress from Brightwaters challenging Clinton for a Senate seat. He now works in government relations for JPMorgan Chase.

His advice to Joe Biden in tonight's faceoff with Sarah Palin: "Even when your opponent is tough as nails and there's no way that they are going to be intimidated by a challenge or a comment, the audience may not see it that way."

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