At Clinton female fundraiser, a missing senator and lipstick jokes

December 1, 2015
A scene from the the new Clinton video. Credit: Hillary for America

A scene from the the new Clinton video. Credit: Hillary for America


WASHINGTON – Any lingering doubts about whether Hillary Clinton is willing to play the gender card second time around were extinguished at a Monday fundraiser headlined by all but one of the Democratic women in the U.S. Senate.

One by one, the senators addressed a hotel ballroom near Capitol Hill where about a thousand attendees had contributed anywhere from $250 to $2,700 to show the “tremendous level of enthusiasm among women supporters” according to Clinton’s campaign, which for the first time invited her press corps to observe one of the many fundraising events that pepper the Democratic front-runner’s schedule.

The senators talked about gender expectations. They talked about equal pay. They praised Clinton’s record – and each others. They made jokes about earrings, pantsuits and lipstick. They did not refer to the fact  that the only Democratic woman missing from the list was Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who did not attend Monday’s event and has not endorsed Clinton. (A Warren representative declined to comment on her absence.)

“Now I want each of the women here to take a moment to think about something we all can identify with, that is, I bet you’ve been told in your life, you’re too this, you’re too that, you’re too tall, you’re too short, your hair is too this, your makeup is too that, you smile too much, you don’t smile enough. Anybody know that?” asked Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who was elected the same year as Clinton.

“We all know that. We’ve all been told ‘Wait, it’s not your time. Wait, there will be another time.’ Well today we are here to say, it is our time, and President Hillary Clinton is just right,” Stabenow said to applause.

“I’ll be working my earrings off to elect Hillary!” said Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the last lawmaker to speak.

After Mikulski’s promise, before Clinton took to the stage, smart phones within the audience were lifted to record a new video Clinton’s campaign is calling “44 Boys Is Too Many,” as it was broadcast on large screens.

The video, released Tuesday, features elementary school-aged girls reading letters they have written to Clinton.

“The reason why I want you Hillary Clinton to become president is because, from George Washington to Barack Obama there has not been a woman president,” reads one letter written in magenta crayon.

“44 boys is too many!” writes another girl, referencing the number of U.S. presidents thus far in varying shades of pink marker, with the ‘too’ turned into the eyes of a smiley face.

Since Clinton announced her campaign in April, the former senator, secretary of state and first lady has not shied away from emphasizing her gender, saying at a June rally how she would be the “youngest woman president” and highlighting her role as a new grandmother and caregiver.

It has been a departure from when Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to President Barack Obama in 2008. In that campaign, Clinton downplayed her work on behalf of women and children. It wasn’t until her concession speech in June of that year that many felt she fully embraced that she too would have been a historic Democratic nominee.

“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before,” Clinton said at her Washington, D.C., concession speech of the primary support she received, “filling us all with hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier the next time.”

This time, Clinton’s campaign-trail playbook has some new lines.

“When you shortchange women, you shortchange families, you shortchange the economy,” Clinton said at a Sunday dinner in New Hampshire.

“If being for equal pay for equal work is playing the gender card, then deal me in,” Clinton said last week in Colorado, reiterating her oft-cited rebuttal to opponents’ contention she’s capitalizing on being a woman.

Clinton’s policy rollouts have highlighted the fact that women are more likely to take time out of the workforce to care for children, ailing spouses or aging parents; her campaign proudly touts that more than half of its contributions come from women.

The “44 Boys” video reminds us “there is still so much to do to break the highest hardest glass ceiling,” Clinton’s campaign said.

“I am so grateful to her, you know she is the senator who made it possible for somebody like me to wear pants on the Senate floor,” Clinton said Monday of Mikulski, referencing her own infamous pantsuits.





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Oddly enough, more women have contributed to Bernie Sanders’ campaign than have contributed to Hillary’s campaign, despite 60% of Hillary’s donors being female.

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