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Sweet blog column: Edwards advisor--abortion rights leader Kate Michelman-- tackles Clinton for "playing the victim" with gender card.


WASHINGTON--John Edwards campaign advisor Kate Michelman--former NARAL president-- is attacking frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton--the first female with a real chance of being elected president-- for complaining that her male rivals are "piling on."

"It's trying to have it both ways; walk the fence, something Senator Clinton's good at. At one minute the strong woman ready to lead, the next, she's the woman under attack, disingenuously playing the victim card as a means of trying to avoid giving honest, direct answers to legitimate questions," Michelman said in a statement the campaign issued Saturday.
click below for entire statement...

Michelman has impeccable creditionals when it comes to the struggle for womens equality and supporting women cracking glass ceilings. As the former president of NARAL, she has been a long-time national leader in the abortions rights movement.

Michelman goes after Clinton for playing the gender card after Clinton botch answers in Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia--with Edwards part of an aggresive assault.

"As a woman who's been in the public eye and experienced scrutiny, as a woman who knows how hard it can be for women to earn their seat at the leadership table, how hard women have to work just to get the same opportunities, this distresses me," she said.

Statement from Kate Michelman

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – John Edwards for President Campaign Advisor and Former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Kate Michelman, today posted the following statement on A link to her post and the full text are below:

We’ve Come a Long Way, by Kate Michelman

Remember the commercial:

We've come a long way baby.

Well, have we? That's the question American women need to ask themselves.

We earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

We are 48% more likely to live in poverty than men.

17 million adult women lack health insurance.

Millions of us struggle to balance jobs and the needs of our families.

A long way? Not nearly long enough.

But now that we have the first viable female candidate for President of the United States, things will get better for women, right? Her candidacy will positively affect public perception regarding women in politics and business - and that change will benefit all women - even the women struggling in dead end jobs, scrapping by on minimum wage, raising their families on their own?

Not so fast.

As women take a second look at the candidates, now that attention is focusing more on the issues and how each of the candidates would lead, how they would make decisions; now that making a choice is becoming real, less about celebrity, more about being president, legitimate questions are being raised about Senator Clinton.

And we're all learning something.

When unchallenged, in a comfortable, controlled situation, Senator Clinton embraces her political elevation into the "boys club." She is quick to assure listeners she is plenty tough enough, that she's battled tested, ready to play be the same rules as the boys.

But when she's challenged, when legitimate questions are asked, questions she should be prepared to answer and discuss, she is just as quick to raise the white flag and look for a change in the rules. She then calls questioning, 'attacking;' she calls debate among her peers, 'piling on.'

It's a political strategy, no doubt focus grouped and poll tested: make it look unseemly that this group of men would question her and hold her accountable for her record.

It's trying to have it both ways; walk the fence, something Senator Clinton's good at. At one minute the strong woman ready to lead, the next, she's the woman under attack, disingenuously playing the victim card as a means of trying to avoid giving honest, direct answers to legitimate questions.

As a woman who's been in the public eye and experienced scrutiny, as a woman who knows how hard it can be for women to earn their seat at the leadership table, how hard women have to work just to get the same opportunities, this distresses me.

It is not presidential.

Any serious candidate for president should have to answer tough questions and defend their record.

Any serious candidate for president should make their views clear and let the American people know where they stand on issues.

And any serious candidate for president should be held to the same standard - whether man or woman.

Have we have come a long way? Well, far enough to know better than to use our gender as a shield when the questions get too hot.



Given Edwards own history of playing the race and gender cards, Michelman’s argument has no credibility.

It was Elizabeth Edwards who blamed the media for their campaigns poor press. She said; “”We can’t make John black, we can’t make him a woman”.

It was John Edwards, while on his southern state tour with “Bubba” tour with Mudcat and Cooter, who said:

“If you’re running in a tough congressional district somewhere in America, anywhere in America, and I’m in one right now, okay…You gotta ask yourself would you rather have Senator Obama at the top of the ticket to help, Senator Clinton at the top of the ticket to help, or John Edwards at the top of the ticket to help. … .. You got to have someone who is strong in all those places and who is not a drag on candidates who are trying to win in those places. … .. The easiest way to do it, honestly, is to picture in your head each of us running in a tough place — we’re in one right now — and which one’s going to be more helpful and which one’s not, because I think that does matter.”

And it was the Edwards campaign who used Elizabeth’s cancer in his “Heros” ad.

And that’s OK.

Personally, I think every candidate has the right to appeal to whomever they want, however they want. In the end, it’s for the voters to decide which card is trump.

It appears as I get older, NARAl has become increasing irrelevant.

This piece is so intellectually dishonest and politically naive. Try answering the debate questions yourself, knowing all the background and consequences but do it with a one liner or a yes or not. Stupidity.

As for being the victim, give me a break. Clinton is playing the male game...use everything you can and get every vote possible.

I have not decided she is my candidate but articles like this make me want to vote for her

Well, Obama is from Illinois and Clinton is not. At least that's how this post and its message comes across to me.

I am not necessarily FOR Hillary or anyone else, yet. But I'm currently against all of the front-row Republicans, with the partial exceptions of Romney and Paul.

Democrats would do well to at least partially adopt Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment. The infighting between Obama, Edwards, and Clinton is unbecoming to the party, and to the candidates. Illinoisans can't see that because Illinois politics are as filthy bad as Pennsylvania politics.

That's the environment Obama grew up in and got his start as a politician. He doesn't know better.

I don't know what Edwards excuse is. He should be spending his time with his wife, Elizabeth, who is close to death after breaking a very brittle rib a number of weeks ago.

The Democratic Party does one thing better than Republicans, Independents, and everyone else: it snatches defeat from the jaws of victory time after time without even trying. Or, as Bob Hope once replied when asked if he belonged to an organized political party, he said, "No. I'm a Democrat."

The most qualified Democratic candidate for the Presidency, in my opinion, is Joe Biden. But his age, and his inability to be succinct turn people away. Obama should have spent his first term as a Senator AND a climber, instead of just a climber. He is a gifted communicator, but he failed to learn patience and tolerance.

It is a sad story in America (United States) when liberals, minorities, women et al, will destroy their own. I have a problem with women, Black, white and others, who come to the forefront and call themselved minorities, when for the first time in our history, we could elect a woman President. We have had so many men, white at that, who have beat us, ridiculed us and most of all stopped us from being who we are and could be. White women stepped to the front and labeled themselves as a minority (to keep Blacks in their place in my opinion) and women stepped forward to protect their husbands and boyfriends (against Black men in my opinion) and now they even have an opportunity to elect one of their own - what do they do - LEAD THE ATTACKS. Women are worst then men in some instances, because they will sleep around with men (Black men) and when they get caught they are some of the first to hollow or declare rape - I am, as a Black female, hope they get another white man as president and get again (once more) screwed over. We as Blacks are use to it and it will not be anything different - but mark my words - THEY TOO HAD A CHANCE AND DON'T SAY A DAMN THING WHEN THEY SCREW OVER YOU AT YOUR REQUEST AND WISHES.

Last time I checked, NARAL was helping that idiot Joe Lieberman get re-elected, so there's a credibility problem right there. See Digby's post "Let's See What You've Got, Babe" for the definitive take-down of the ridiculous notion that Hillary's playing the gender card.

I don't 'get' the comments here. It was a 'debate', and the questions required 'pro' or 'con' comments/answers. The problem was that Hillary did a whole bunch of doublespeak, and everyone (including moderator Tim Russert), effectively called her on it. Even her dear friend and supporter, James Carville, said 'it was not one of her better performances.' Then, afterwards, she accuses everyone (who all are males) of 'piling on'. In there multi-candidate debate venues, the front runner is, especially at this timeline juncture, going to feel the heat of the kitchen. It is (Hillary disingenuous AGAIN) later claiming (AND putting out a 'victime' video) that her predicament is ALL about being a WOMAN!
THIS is what Kate Michelman was saying! And, this behavior is troubling - we have seen petulance and denial of accountability since January 20, 2001 - wake up, people!
The linkage to what Elizabeth Edwards had said about her husband, as well as Elizabeth Edwards health --what does that have to do with the price of bananas?

"People in Iowa and New Hampshire who are looking you in the eye and not just watching you on television, they want to know what you're made of.

"They want to know if you really stand for something; if you are willing to take on this system that doesn't work; whether your ideas for health care, ending the war are real; and whether they can trust you.

"They actually want you to say the same thing, although it may be boring sometimes to them, as you say everywhere else in America.

"They want you to believe in what you say so that they know when the crunch comes, they can count on you to fight for what it is you actually believe in."

--John Edwards to Bill Maher, October, 2007

i have often wondered why Hilary is considered the front runner considering she is not really well liked. the other candidates need to get on the ball and point out the truth to her popularity. It took the following commentary to make be realize what exactly it is, I highly advise anyone interested in the primary to read it here is the link

Oh, please. The Republicans in this race (and in the White House) have been engaged in a continual round of "quién es más macho?" since any of them started. (You have to wonder, do they all have overwhelming masculinity issues, or do they just think their voters do?) In comparison, Clinton (like most women politicians) has made a point of playing down her lack of a Y chromosome.

Moreover, few discussions of Clinton's candidacy pass over the part her gender plays in the race (in fact, some can discuss nothing else). But apparently Michelman feels that Clinton herself shouldn't be allowed to do so.

It's stunning that Michelman thinks that a woman acknowledging the obvious in public is some sort of step backwards for feminism.

It's too bad a second woman wasn't in the debate. I'm sure she would have """piled on""" too, thus eliminating Hillary Clinton's option of playing that victim card... caveat - I am no fan of Hillary.

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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 November 3, 2007 11:18 AM.

Sweet blog column: In South Carolina, Obama slams Clinton for being a "skilled politician." And he's not? Speech transcript. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog column: Obama opens Saturday Night Live. Slaps down Clinton in skit. is the next entry in this blog.

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