WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton’s failed promise of bringing 200,000 jobs to upstate New York came back to haunt her again Sunday, as Donald Trump brought the issue up twice during the presidential debate in St. Louis.
“Hillary was going to bring jobs back to upstate New York, and she failed,” Trump, the Republican nominee, said early in the debate.
Trump was referring to a promise Clinton, now the Democratic nominee, made during her first run for the U.S. Senate from New York in 2000.
“Hillary has a serious plan to create 200,000 new jobs upstate,” an announcer intoned in one of her 2000 campaign ads.
Clinton did make several initiatives to try to boost upstate employment during her eight years in the Senate. Most notably in the Buffalo area, she fought for federal funding for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and worked to prevent closure of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Statewide, she sought to expand markets for family farms and help upstate businesses sell their products on eBay.
But Clinton didn’t achieve the goal of 200,000 new upstate jobs. In fact, federal statistics show that overall employment fell slightly during her time in the Senate.
Trump wouldn’t let Clinton forget it Sunday night, returning to the topic late in the debate. “Take a look at upstate New York. It turned out to be a disaster,” he said.
Clinton replied by noting that New York voters didn’t seem all that upset with her record when her first term ended in 2006.
“Sixty-seven percent of the people voted to re-elect me, and I was very proud of that,” Clinton said.
The dispute then continued, not surprisingly, on Twitter.
“Hillary promised 200K jobs for upstate NY when she ran for Senate. When she left the net loss was 7K jobs – did nothing for NY,” tweeted Jeanine F. Pirro, host of “Justice with Judge Jeanine” on Fox News.
But Jeremy J. Zellner, chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee, tweeted: “The Donald should be careful about how he talks about upstate NY. We are turning the corner, creating jobs and growing the economy.”