I'm no Hillary Clinton: Argentine front-runner

MEXICO CITY Thu Aug 2, 2007 12:51am EDT

Argentina's first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks during a visit to Argentina's embassy in Mexico City July 31, 2007. Argentina's first lady and front-runner in the October presidential election rejected on Wednesday comparisons with U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton despite both women's hopes to follow their husbands into office. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Argentina's first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks during a visit to Argentina's embassy in Mexico City July 31, 2007. Argentina's first lady and front-runner in the October presidential election rejected on Wednesday comparisons with U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton despite both women's hopes to follow their husbands into office.

Credit: Reuters/Henry Romero

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Argentina's first lady and front-runner in the October presidential election rejected on Wednesday comparisons with U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton despite both women's hopes to follow their husbands into office.

Sen. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, also are lawyers who met their husbands at universities but Fernandez said the comparisons ended there.

"Hillary was able to position herself nationally because her husband was president. She didn't have a political life beforehand and that isn't my case," Fernandez de Kirchner said in an interview with CNN en Espanol, referring to her 30-year career in Argentine politics.

She also said she would mark out her own space from that of her husband, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, with whom she has shared her political career, although she did not go into details.

"Yes, we are political people who have shared a life but that is not an obstacle for us to create our own space," said Fernandez de Kirchner during a visit to Mexico with the Argentine president.

A powerful senator, Fernandez has drawn more than 40 percent of voter support for months, although corruption allegations against government officials, along with energy shortages and inflation, are seen hurting her politically.

Leading Argentine newspaper Clarin published three polls on July 29 showing Fernandez with between 44 percent and 47.8 percent support, while her two closest contenders attracted between 8.4 percent and 18.1 percent.

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