Hillary Clinton & Lena

Hillary, Lena and Amy: Sisterhood is powerful, or so Clinton hopes

1/24/2016 Hillary, Lena and Amy: Sisterhood is powerful, or so Clinton hopes
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HILLARY CLINTON
Hillary, Lena and
Amy: Sisterhood is
powerful, or so
Clinton hopes
Lisa Belkin
Chief National Correspondent
January 18, 2016
Follow
Amy Schumer and Hillary Clinton attend “The Ellen
DeGeneres Show” Season 13 BiCoastal
Premiere at
Rockefeller Center on Sept. 8, 2015, in New York City.
(Photo: Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
The Hillary Clinton of 2008 talked a lot about her
qualifications and background as a lawyer, a United
States senator, a first lady, a children’s rights advocate
— and very little about the fact that she’s a woman.
Even if she’d had a grandchild at the time, she probably
wouldn’t have been photographed pushing a baby
carriage. If she’d been delayed returning from the
bathroom during a debate break, she would have
trampled three interns and a cameraman to get back to
the stage in time.
The Hillary Clinton of 2016, in stark contrast, is a proud
grandmother, confidently exercising her right to let the
world wait for her, and above all, unafraid to
acknowledge that in running she is making it possible
for “fathers … to say to their daughters, ‘You, too, can
grow up to be president.’”
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So, what happened?
Lena Dunham happened. And Amy Schumer. Also
Sheryl Sandberg, Gabby Giffords, the first female Army
Rangers and all of women’s soccer. All assessed in polls,
discussed in strategy sessions with her aides and all
pointing to the same conclusion: that if the United
States is ready to see Julia LouisDreyfus
as president,
it’s ready to elect Hillary Clinton. And, of course,
something else happened: Donald Trump.
“The cultural moment is different for a female candidate
for president than the one that existed as recently as
seven years ago,” says Howard Wolfson, cochief
strategist and communications director for Clinton’s
2008 presidential campaign, who now works for
Bloomberg and is watching this one from the sidelines.
1/24/2016 Hillary, Lena and Amy: Sisterhood is powerful, or so Clinton hopes
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“There was no equivalent of a show like Girls with a
frank depiction of what it means to be female,” he said.
“There was no young woman carrying around the
mattress at Columbia talking about issues of sexual
violence, no Sheryl Sandberg pointing out that women
are perceived differently when it comes to leadership,
no Amy Schumer with a pop comedy show devoted to
exposing sexism in the workplace and society. There is
much more space for a conversation around gender
discrimination and gender equality and just plain
gender.”
Eight years ago, he says, the goal of the campaign was to
prove that Clinton could win the election and do the job
of president. Hence, “the fact that the candidate was
female was not something we stressed.”
“When she first announced the last time, we spent at
least six to eight months asking, ‘Is America ready for a
female president?’” recalls Donna Brazile, a longtime
Democratic strategist who is now a commentator for
CNN. “In light of all that, [the campaign] decided not to
emphasize that she would be the first woman, rather
they thought that her qualifications as commander in
chief was the most important ingredient. They wanted
to neutralize the gender card as much as possible.”
That might have been a misread of the electorate,
Brazile and Wolfson now admit. The two most powerful
images of Clinton’s last presidential run were when she
cried in a New Hampshire diner and when she exited
with a speech that took pride in the “18 million cracks”
her candidacy had created in “the glass ceiling.” Or
maybe in the long run it was the correct decision, and
the reputation for toughness she cultivated then,
reinforced by her subsequent tenure as Secretary of
State, settled the question of her competence — freeing
her to present herself now as a woman whose campaign
carries as much symbolic weight for women as
President Obama’s did for AfricanAmericans.
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Hillary Clinton and Lena Dunham Talk Feminism
Hillary Clinton is all about feminism, and she's not afraid to say it. The democratic candidate sat down to
1/24/2016 Hillary, Lena and Amy: Sisterhood is powerful, or so Clinton hopes
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Monday, February 29, 2016 - 8:17 PM
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