First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, speaking at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, clashed Tuesday about raising the minimum wage by $1.60 an hour.
Republican Giuliani, stopping here on a quest to raise $300,000 for a probable race against Democrat Mrs. Clinton for the U.S. Senate, told a news conference in a hotel near the White House that "we have to be real careful" about increasing the federal wage floor, which is now $5.15.
"New York City is creating jobs at a greater rate than the rest of the country and the rest of the State of New York, and we're going through a sensitive welfare-to-work transition," the mayor said. "So you have to take a look at whether you aren't putting a lot of people out of work."
Mrs. Clinton said, "The value of the minimum wage has dropped more than 25 percent during the 1980s. The proposal pending before Congress . . . would simply restore the real value of the minimum wage to what it was in 1982. . . .
"Americans can afford to raise the minimum wage. The last time it was raised, in 1996, 10 million Americans got a raise and the economy continued to create jobs at an unprecedented pace."
She said the wage question is "particularly a woman's issue." Mrs. Clinton was unaware of Giuliani's comments when she appeared during a small rally for the wage increase near the Capitol.
Joining her were Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a sponsor of the wage boost, House Minority Whip David E. Bonior, D-Mich., and others. She contrasted Republican opposition to the wage bill with the GOP leadership's support of a $4,600 increase in congressional pay.
Giuliani met with reporters before attending a fund-raising luncheon. Today, he has scheduled similar meetings in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He will attend another fund-raising event at the Stockdale Country Club in Bakersfield, Calif., before going home.
He told reporters that he hopes to raise up to $20 million. Mrs. Clinton has set $25 million as a goal if she campaigns for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
On another issue, Giuliani said he continues to support the release from prison of convicted spy Israeli Jonathan Pollard.
The mayor said the life sentence given to Pollard is "way beyond" what others convicted of comparable offenses have received. Pollard sold strategic secrets to Israel while working as a Navy intelligence analyst.
"I have no reason to change my mind," said Giuliani, who supported clemency for Pollard in the past.
Mrs. Clinton's campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said the first lady understood the importance of the Pollard case but was reserving judgment until a top-level federal review of the Pollard case was completed. Pollard has served 13 years.
Giuliani's stand on Pollard could create problems for Mrs. Clinton within the state's large Jewish community, many of whose leaders favor his early release.
The Pollard question nearly wrecked an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement brokered by President Clinton last year.
Then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressured the president into promising to take a fresh look at the case. CIA Director George J. Tenet reportedly threatened to quit if Clinton let Pollard out of prison.
Clemency became a hot issue in the Senate race after the president offered to release Puerto Rican terrorists. Republicans accused the president of trying to help his wife with Puerto Rican voters. She opposed the deal, but later said she might have spoken too quickly.
Giuliani said there was a legitimate concern about the freed Puerto Ricans' possible return to violence.