PRESIDENT Bill Clinton, who spent most of Tuesday preparing to pass the political mantle, declared himself «elated» with his wife's victory as he took a back seat on Election Day and watched Hillary Rodham Clinton make history by becoming a U.S. senator. Taking over the role his wife has played for more than a quarter century, Clinton stood at the back of the stage alongside daughter Chelsea and looked on with pride as his wife gave her acceptance speech at a Manhattan hotel. Mrs. Clinton beat her Republican opponent, Representative Rick Lazio, for the U.S. Senate seat from New York, to become the only first lady ever to seek or win public office. “I'm just elated. I'm so proud of her,” Clinton told reporters as he greeted supporters after his wife's speech.

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