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Sen. Clinton: Bill and I are different

A second President Clinton might occupy a little less space than the first.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A second President Clinton might occupy a little less space than the first.

Asked how her governing style might differ from her husband's, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton noted Wednesday that the former president has "a bigger-than-life presence."

"He's like a force of nature ... I don't even pretend to be that. That's not who I am," she said of Bill Clinton.

Saying the "cumbersome" rules of the nation's capital often prevent radical shifts, the Democratic presidential candidate painted herself as a measured politician pragmatically focused on accomplishing change bit by bit.

"I'm somebody who just gets up every day and tries to push that decision a little bit further every single day," she said.

The senator spoke Wednesday evening at Manhattan's Town Hall, where she answered questions posed by former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack in front of an audience of hundreds of donors. Onlookers paid at least $50 to attend the question-and-answer fundraiser, which also featured retired Gen. Wesley Clark.

Vilsack, briefly a contender for the Democratic nomination this year, has since dropped out and endorsed Clinton, who has been helping him whittle down a campaign debt of more than $400,000. Clinton representatives have said there was no connection between the fundraising and the endorsement.

Sitting for the nearly hourlong question-and-answer session, Clinton spoke about her health care plan, her position on the Iraq war and her desire to give the U.S. a more active role in ending the four-year conflict in Sudan's Darfur region. She also praised the individualized attention many students receive at New York City's smaller schools and cautioned against overemphasizing standardized testing, saying, "I don't think we want to turn our children into walking tests."

Clinton also got the crowd laughing at the expense of the current administration, referring to Vice President Dick Cheney as "Darth Vader" and telling listeners, "It will be refreshing, I think, to have a president who will actually utter the words 'global warming.'"