Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet column: In Iowa, Clinton targets female voters. White House home too long to "white men.'

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DES MOINES -- At the first public event of her week-old presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton made gender a factor in the 2008 contest, noting the White House has too long been home to "white men."


Clinton is spending the weekend barnstorming in this first caucus state. She has not set foot in Iowa since 2003 and is trailing John Edwards and Barack Obama in polls here. Her campaign strategy is to replicate her 2000 first Senate race where she introduced and sold herself to her then newly adopted state of New York.

Her day started in Des Moines, meeting with Democratic activists, and wrapped up at a house party in Cedar Rapids.

In the afternoon, she drew more than 1,000 to a high school gym here for a well-staged, telegenic town hall-style meeting that gave the public the first taste of how the former first lady, now two-term senator, will pursue her historic bid.

"Now I know there are people who either say or wonder, 'Would we ever elect a woman as president?' ... I'm going to try," she said.

The crowd was friendly. No hostile questions. No one confronted her on her Iraq war vote, thought to be her Achilles' heel in Iowa.

"You go, girl," a woman called out.

"Go with me," Clinton shot back.


'Lifetime of experiences'
She talked and took questions on a set framed with red, white and blue banners with her motto, "Let the Conversation Begin," the 2008 incarnation of the "listening tour" she conducted in the run-up to her initial New York Senate race.
Clinton was very relaxed, perhaps because she finally declared for president and was freed from pretending otherwise. Though the papers she filed said "exploratory committee," she is not bothering with any political fiction.

"I'm running for president, and I'm in it to win it," she said, using what in seven days has become a stump speech line. Each person at the gym got an "I'm in to Win" button.

Clinton said she was running for president "because I want to renew the promise of America," and she said she has a "lifetime of experiences as well as the qualifications to run," which makes her "particularly well-prepared to take office in January 2009."

Female voters are a major target of the Clinton campaign, and she worked that theme hard.

"It is a fact that our political system has been dominated until recently by men and by white men," she said.

Referring to the recently cracked marble ceiling in the Capitol, Clinton said, "Think of what it felt like when you saw Nancy Pelosi become speaker of the House.

"I don't think I am the only woman here who feels sometimes you have to work harder, and I am prepared to do that."

She also said "she accepted" there were probably going to be stories about her clothes and hair.

And she mentioned other "funny stories" that could be out there "about differences between us" -- which could mean any number of things. She talked about a double standard, but she could have been referring to several items at that point.

Clinton, raised in Park Ridge, wanted a conversation, and she got one. Teacher Terri Hoffman, who lives in Des Moines and was raised in Rolling Meadows, told Clinton:

"A friend of mine went to high school with you and slept over when you had sleepovers," she said, referring to a Clinton Maine South chum named Diane Korda.

Without missing a beat Clinton said, "I hope she did not talk too much."


8 Comments

Hillary says the White House has for too long been the home to "white men." Indicating it is some sort of evil thing. And that it should be a major issue. So I ask," how come it wasn't an important issue from 1993 to 2001?" Wasn't there a white guy in office then, also?

There is no quote in the article because one doesn't exist. I watched the event on C-Span and I did not come away with any impression that she was going down the unjustly reviled feminist road regarding white men. Mrs. Clinton stated a fact - which could just as easily been perceived as women and minorities have been excluded. This is an opinion piece – not journalistic reporting – don’t forget that!

For quite awhile we were making progress under those white males - no longer! Here's just one example: They want to protect a 10-cell blob, but control women's wombs, without any quid pro quo (how about prenatal care? Ha-Ha-Ha), and not correct an embarrassingly poor infant birth rate! Women need to keep the eye on the ball for the US that belongs to all of us to have an advancing civilization, because US is currently going backward!
That's right! FDR started Social Security in large part to keep elderly poor women off the street - now we have Mr. Decider trying to wreak his usual havoc and throw the poor into the streets (e.g., New Orleans)!
It's time for a change!

John - no, not really. Bill, and others, considered him as our first "black" president.
Who else but Hillary could get away with a comment about "white men".
Further, remember the comment from Bill about "you get two for one"? You think he was kidding? Hillary herself has said that she was very involved in decision-making unless, of course, it turned out poorly.

Gee-Haw! I don't recall any Billary support for the Truly HISTORIC run of a Black WOMAN, Carol Mosely Braun for president, who I supported in '04! And all things considered, how cum she wasn't supporting Jesse Jackson in '92?! Speaking of a twofer, you don't think there'll be a white man president, if she were to "win it" in '08? I've heard Rupert Murdoch's a tough boss.

This comment will surely come to haunt her in the future.
I have no problem with a woman, even a black woman, in the Presidents chair. In fact, Condi would fit the bill nicely.
If you get Hillary you get Bill and a lot of baggage as well as an attitude toward the military and intelligence that we do not need now.

Hillary could give any Republican a run for their money in hypocrisy. If she had not taken advantage of the propensity to elect white males, few Americans would have even ever heard of her. She lifted herself up by stepping on Bill's back, and then she says that people like Bill are unworthy, which implies that she is unworthy to be in her position since she was lifted up by him. Clarence Thomas, Mr. anti-affirmative action who benefited from affirmative action, would have a hard time topping that!

Dam those white men! Who did those guys like FDR, Lincoln and Washington think they were! Hillary will show them! She'll raise taxes higher than Stalin and make sure everyone has free health care!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 28, 2007 5:53 AM.

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