By creating a campaign exploratory committee, Clinton may raise and spend money for political travel, polling and ads. Among the committee's first expenses will be the New York "listening tour" Clinton is to embark on today-- beginning at the rural home of retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
A campaign Web site (www.hillary2000.org) was set to debut today to coincide with the start of her New York swing. The site will feature Clinton's columns and speeches as well as information for potential volunteers and donors.
Even before the exploratory committee was formed, aides said, unsolicited checks had been arriving to support Clinton's seemingly inevitable entrance into the Senate race. Most supporters expect the first lady, who has been a fixture in Democratic fund raising efforts, to rake in money.
Forming an exploratory committee will help to eliminate another potential GOP line of attack--that taxpayers are funding Mrs. Clinton's quasi-campaign trips to New York under the guise of official first lady duties. However, she will still receive Secret Service protection paid for by the federal government.