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Enjoying a comfortable lead over her GOP punching-bag opponent in her Senate re-election bid, New York's own Hillary Clinton was cast by evangelist Jerry Falwell as a favorite candidate for the 2008 presidential election:

"I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate," Falwell said at a breakfast session Friday in Washington. "I hope she's the candidate, because nothing will energize my (constituency) like Hillary Clinton," he said. "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't."

Clinton's spokesman decried this "demonizing" maneuver, though no one would speculate on evangelicals' potential reaction to a Clinton versus Satan race. The Prince of Darkness declined to comment, saying he has every confidence in GOP Senate majority leader Bill Frist.

Falwell acknowledges Clinton comment [AP]