Hillary still runs behind John Kerry

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has co-sponsored a smaller percentage of Republican bills than Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C), two of her potential rivals for the Democratic presidential primary in 2008.

In the 107th and 108th Congresses, Clinton co-sponsored fewer Republican bills and amendments, as a percentage of total bills and amendments she co-sponsored, than either Kerry or Edwards, according to an analysis conducted by The Hill. She is on pace to continue that trend in the 109th Congress, trailing slightly behind Kerry.

Her proposals have also failed to attract Republican co-sponsors at the same rate as Kerry’s. In the 108th Congress, 17 percent of her bills and amendments attracted at least one GOP co-sponsor, compared to 21 percent for Kerry, who was running for president during that time. In the 107th Congress, 46 percent of Kerry’s bills and amendments were co-sponsored by at least one Republican; for Clinton, the figure was 28 percent.

In addition, the analysis suggests that, contrary to conventional wisdom that she is repositioning herself toward the center, Clinton’s legislative record has been consistent throughout her time in the Senate. In each of the three Congresses she has served in, Clinton has co-sponsored one Republican-sponsored bill or amendment for approximately every three Democratic-sponsored bills or amendments.

Kerry and Edwards both co-sponsored one Republican bill or amendment for approximately every two Democratic bills or amendments.

The Hill’s analysis discounted bills of a nonpolitical nature — such as those honoring specific individuals or days — as well as bills dealing only with state-specific issues.

Clinton’s overall legislative history may be more telling than her recent string of high-profile, bipartisan initiatives.

“You have to take her legislative record as a whole,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “You can’t allow senators to pick out specific votes or bills and allow them to define themselves for PR purposes.”

Sabato described Clinton as being “certainly part of the most liberal fifth of the Senate.” In 2004, National Journal rated her as the seventh most liberal senator. Kerry was rated the most liberal senator, while Edwards tied for second, though some have suggested those results are skewed because of the high number of votes the two men missed while campaigning.

Attempting to portray Kerry and Edwards as liberal, Republican operatives cited the National Journal ratings throughout the presidential campaign.

Elise Craig, Djamila Grossman, Jonathan Singer and Tiffany Todd contributed to this report.