Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York this week. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
by Andrew Malcolm
Presidential campaigns love themes. It helps package their messages. This week's theme for front-runner Hillary Clinton is, "Women changing America." It's probably purely a coincidence that Clinton is a woman who's trying to change America by becoming its first woman president and doing so well among women in the polls and talking about women at every campaign stop (you know, the unnamed 90-year-old woman who says she was born when women couldn't vote and she just wants to shake the hand of the first woman president).
So you won't have a hard time guessing where Clinton showed up first thing Monday morning -- on ABC's "The View," which does so poorly in the ratings among males 18-45. Judging by the laughs and applause, Clinton was surely among friends.
"I still think, you know, there's probably a tougher standard for women, especially running for president. We've all been through it in one way or another where you go, you try to break a barrier, do the best you can and people are saying, 'Well, I don't like her clothes or I don't like her hair or whatever.' But I think we're getting beyond that."
How's that for an empathy pitch?
She told the 90-year-old woman story again and another one about parents who bring their daughters to her campaign appearances so they can see that they can be anything they want to be.
She dismissed a question about her polarizing effect, saying she just tries to make her points and let the people see who she is and make their own judgment. "I really think Americans want to know what your positive agenda is." She said she was excited for Al Gore getting the Nobel Prize and "when I'm president maybe we can get something done on global warming." She also came out against torture.
Later in the day at a New York luncheon Clinton said some people had asked in 2000 whether New York was ready to elect a woman senator. “I propose we give them the same answer we did in New York, and that this time next year we prove that America is indeed ready for a woman president.”
In fact, according to a Boston Globe story, Clinton's staff is counting on women to push her over the top both in the primary elections and in the general election.
Not wanting to step on her women's message of progress with a contradictory message reminiscent of past fundraising scandals, the Clinton campaign waited as late as possible today to release her finance report detailing the donors and amounts rounded up by accused swindler Norman Hsu.
Andrew Malcolm writes for Top of the Ticket, the L.A. Times' political blog.