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August 27th, 2008
03:11 PM ET

Hillary's women already have power

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/27/art.dnc.hillary.evita.jpg]
Hilary Rosen
AC360° Contributor
Political Director, The Huffington Post

Editor's note: CNN contributor Hilary Rosen is the political director and Washington editor at large of HuffingtonPost.com, which describes itself as an Internet newspaper and focuses on politics from a liberal point of view. A longtime Democratic adviser, Rosen is a former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America. This column by Rosen, a former Clinton supporter, is one of a series of commentary pieces on CNN.com from Democrats and Republicans attending party conventions.

Is there a score higher than an A+? I have heard about a hundred speeches by Sen. Hillary Clinton. Tuesday night's speech in Denver was a clarion call filled with power and grace.

Hillary's job at the Democratic National Convention was a big one. She had to make a strong and compelling case to any of her recalcitrant supporters for the election of Sen. Barack Obama.

She had to express her deep appreciation for all those who supported her in this campaign but not too much appreciation so that people would think she was trying to keep them to herself.

And finally she had to describe the stakes in this election and the choices we face, particularly for American families. But she had do it in a way that was not threatening to Obama but rather would be seen as amplifying his message.

And she had to do it all in 23 minutes (including applause). For weeks, people will make comments about what she should have or shouldn't have said.

But Tuesday night she was strong and compassionate, comforting and combative, deeply intelligent and extremely charming. She did everything she needed to achieve for a united party and a dignified conclusion to her campaign for her supporters. I think she gave the speech of her life.

Clinton's journey broke barriers on several levels. Yet it also gave us some real insights about the road ahead. We cannot try to replicate how men got ahead in politics, but must be open and heartfelt about the special qualities that we as women bring to public office.

Yes, it is true, she not so silently admitted, that in the beginning she was trying to avoid running as a "woman." She thought she needed to prove she was commander-in-chief material. But instead in the last and more successful months of her campaign, her message evolved.

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soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. twiggy

    i read comment after comment about women and their lost by not having hilliary as the nominee. i still don't understand it. i have no ideal how grown women get so caught up in the emotional personal gender issue- i have no problems with being a woman – no problems with postions or lack there of. my self worth is not based on more money or equal pay or having a woman for president my self worth does not come by way of man but by way of God. God validates me as a woman, as a african american, as a mother, as a daughter ..... we too often look to people for validation and not God – Jesus. hilliary is a human, barak is a human we are mankind – mankind is imperfect.
    her nomination or not does not take anything away or bring anything to me as a woman, neither does barak obama nomination or lack of bring anything to me or take anything away from me as being a african american – his journey to the white house is historical and i am very proud of that but it does not add to me as a person. i am with or without people, influential people a child of God.

    August 28, 2008 at 8:41 am |
  2. Pat W

    I wish people would quit catagorizing Clinton supporters as sore losers. Disappointed yes. I will not likely be around for any further elections to see a women become the President. I am sure there will be many black men and women who will not be around for another election. It is their time now. I HOPE the fact that Hillary came so far, fought so hard, and came so close will pay some dividends for women's rights around the country. I don't believe it will come from Obama but then again I don't know for sure what he stands for inspite of the fact I've listened to him speak for months. I'm certain I won't get health insurance during his administration. Groceries are barely "affordable" for me these days. I will vote for Obama in Nov because Hillary asked me to.

    August 28, 2008 at 6:24 am |
  3. Michelle

    It saddens me to see the bitterness of some of my fellow women in this blog. I am a firm Hillary supporter, but I am obviously going to vote for Obama over McCain. It would be a slap in the face to Hillary to elect a man that will work to undo everything she has worked so hard for. Please think about the big picture here...think about the Supreme Court and how Row V. Wade will be overturned if McCain is elected. Think about our troops over seas. Are we going to keep them in harms way because we feel slighted? Are we really going to elect the wrong man out of bitterness? Sometimes things are bigger than us. Would I prefer to be voting for Hillary...of course. But with the nation being at such a pivotal point, I can't vote with my anger.

    Obama now...Hillary in 2016

    August 28, 2008 at 1:04 am |
  4. BJG Montana

    As a woman, I will vote for Obama, however, this will be the last time I will ever vote for an all male ticket, regardless of the party. It is time for women to stand up be counted as equals. We have to quit stepping aside and letting the lessor male candidate take the lead. If women commit to this, we will have a female president in the near future.

    August 28, 2008 at 12:08 am |
  5. T Howell

    I'm a registered democrat. I will vote for Mccain. Not out of spite. Not because I'm bitter Hillary lost. Not because I'm racist. Just because I believe Mccain is the better candidate. Change is a word. Anyone can say it. Everyone says it. Obama has not explained how he will affect that change. Explain it to me. Show me. Draw me a picture. Do not expect me to collapse in rapture at a six letter word.

    August 27, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    In reading the comments I almost forgot what the post was about – a lot of very interesting comments.

    As a woman I was so disappointed when Hillary did not win the nomination and yes, I know what its like to have a younger male come along and capture the position I was in line for even though he didn't have the experience or knowledge to do it. It used to make me mad, now I just see it as part of the status quo. Hillary sounded a clarion call to all women that we do have power and our time has come – we can make progress in other ways besides the presidency for now – real progress that helps everyone. And while we do it we must wait patiently for next time and try again for the presidency.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 27, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  7. Cynthia

    It is everyone's right to vote for whomever they want to and for whatever reason. I just do hope that those of you voting for Senator McCain out of spite will think of just how precious that right is and not abuse it.

    It just wasn't Hilliary Clinton's time – who knows maybe Chelsa.

    August 27, 2008 at 8:06 pm |
  8. Jolene

    I would love to know out of those 18 million who voted for Hillary, how many are now going to vote for McCain. Is it really that substantial of a percentage? That's democracy, voters have the freedom to vote for who they want or for that matter not vote at all. A lot can happen between now and November and I believe people will change their minds.

    As far as the negative and obsessive comments from Cindy (GA). Talk about an attention getter. Perhaps this blog should be renamed to Cindy360 Blog. Her comments overtake this blog to the point where it is starting to look biased. Just saying......

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    August 27, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  9. lampe

    Any power, that women had, was washed away within the last 18 months,by The DNC, who took it upon themselves, to tell women, that we are not deserving of holding the highest office in the land. Seems to me that the men of this world, have done more than their fair share at screwing things up. But GOD FORBID, that they would even give a woman a shot at trying to Change things. I guess bare-foot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, is where they think we belong.

    August 27, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  10. Monica

    My vote as a 38 year old working women and mother will never translate to Barack Obamba. In good conscious, I could never vote for what John McCain stands for. For the first time in my voting history there is not a candidate worth my vote! I am sick of it all!

    When will citizens of this country wake and stop treating these candidates as celebrities. Voting should not be based on race, gender, or military service record! We have serious economic issues facing this country, when will voters demand a candidate that actually addresses important issues for Americans?

    I’m sure when blacks are still living in the ghettoes and do not have better jobs or veterans don’t have better health care and watch more young Americans die in silent wars everyone will wonder what happened? I can’t wait to sit back and watch the fallout!

    August 27, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  11. Stewart Chirova

    I am watching the democratic convention on CNN here in Botswana and I am glad that I witnessed history unfold. This is a defining moment for American Politics and Senator Clinton showed leadership and what the democratic party is all about unity, and respect for diversity and mutual respect. I couldn't help but join the multitudes of people who cried when Sen Clinton when Obama was declared the candidate. This is history America and congratulations for reaching such a milestone, this is not about race or creed its about humanity and the realization that we are all the same!

    August 27, 2008 at 7:12 pm |
  12. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Women had power in 1984 when Mondale put Geraldine Ferraro on his ticket for the White House. I remember watching her at the convention on TV with my mom. I was a junior in high school. That was one of the most empowering moments for me as a teen. There was just this feeling that anything was possible for our gender. Her placement on the ticket made that a reality. She was a hero to every female who wanted to go beyond the barriers of the time. I still respect her for that. What Hillary Clinton did was phenomenal this year. It's just a shame the people weren't ready for her (and maybe even a female president). We'll regret it in the long run. We've come a long way, baby (to steal from an old Virginia Slims ad). But this election proved we still have so far to go. And shoving Obama down the throats of her supporters for party "unity" when they know he isn't qualified to lead the nation is just an insult to their intelligence. Who was Hillary kidding last night?

    August 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  13. BJ

    The truth? We are all programmed by the media propoganda. We really don't know Barack or Hillary for that matter. We hear speaches and see snapshots of what the media wants us to see. Based on that we make decisions without ever really knowing the facts. We hear one sentence from a polition and then we write them off. The news media re-hashes every sentence that they say and constantly provokes the viewers with negative images over and over again. What about voting for Hillary just because she is a woman. Isn't that in itself discrimination? We are like sheep being lead off a cliff. I have heard some disturbing reports about Barack being targeted during the process. I guess Cindy would say that people want to hurt him because he is... a lawyer? I would suggest that we stop for a minute and look at the big picture. The truth is America is in trouble and we need to wake up, stop arguing about who the next leader is and figure out a way to work together to make this AWESOME COUNTY a better place to live. This election has been very stressful and feelings have been hurt on every side. Whomever wins God bless them. They will have the weight of the whole world on their shoulders. Whether it is Obama or McCain they really are going to need our help...

    August 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  14. James Dylan

    The question isn't how many Clinton supporters will vote for Obama, rather how many Obama supporters will vote for Clinton in 2012. It is very possible Obama's decision to run for President at this time not only split his party in half, but damaged it for many years to come.

    August 27, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  15. Madeline

    Just as it is the right of Obama's supporters to vote for him despite his lack of experience, I think it's the right of Hillary's supporters to switch their votes to McCain or not vote at all. I don't think all the name calling by Obama's supporters is really helping to heal the wounds. And before I get accused of working for McCain, let me assure you that I'm not working for him.....directly or indirectly.

    August 27, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  16. Cindy

    @ Joseph....I never have once said anywhere on this blog that I was for Hillary and am now backing McCain. I was just saying that Hillary was a way better candidate than Obama and her speech last night proved it.

    As far as crying racism. Maybe you don't but there are plenty here and elsewhere that do. Any time anyone says anything negative about Obama they bring up the race issue. That isn't illogical that is a fact. Go back on this blog and read and you will see. Especially during the primary time.

    Cindy...Ga.

    August 27, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  17. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    Cindy, Helen and Jeff – come on, people, let it go already! There are more imporant things to worry about, like winning this election.

    Cindy, if you think that Hillary's supporters want to sink Obama, you are wrong. Those who do are not acting in the interests of the Democratic party. I was a strong supporter of Hillary and it was tough to get over it, but I did. Now it's time to win this election. You are not telling the truth, you are telling YOUR truth, and there's a big difference.

    Helen and Jeff – Keep the faith! I am skeptical of the young people finally getting off their butts and voting for once, but maybe this time they will finally be motivated to do so. We need them. I believe that if we can all fight in unison to get the job done, then we will take back the White House!

    August 27, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  18. Vegas

    The DNC is fully aware they've made a grave error in picking Obama...

    It's too late to turn it now... and McCain will get the Whitehouse because of it...

    Obama is slipping in every catagory... and is horrible during debates which are coming... he will continue to fall... and the DNC can blame nobody but themselves.

    Hillary is preparing for 2012... Bill and her know Obama... and know he is too dense to win it...

    August 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  19. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    Cindy, people are simply pointing out that if you did truly support Hillary Clinton, your switch to John McCain is illogical since McCain is directly opposed to almost everything Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stand for.

    We have no need to "cry race" as you said and we can all handle your illogical decisions. We are simply asking what positions of John McCain can you support if you originally supported Hillary Clinton?

    August 27, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  20. Cindy

    @ Helen and Jeff....I'm not negative just truthful. Sometimes the truth hurts and that's when people like you Obama supporters can't handle it. So start crying out racism...since that is what you always do.

    Cindy...Ga.

    August 27, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  21. Barbara in Culver City, CA

    Cindy, I don't get how you can claim to be a supporter of Hillary's and now support McCain. He is against everything Hillary believes in and would further the damage to our country begun by the Bush administration. I can understand your disappointment, even bitterness at Hillary's defeat, but it's time to get over that for the good of our country.

    August 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  22. Jeff in Los Angeles

    Helen, Cindy is so negative because she works for the McCain camp, directly or indirectly. Its funny how her posts get published, but mine get censored.

    August 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  23. lampe

    BJ; I have a little bit if information for you. As long as people like you talk trash about The Clintons, the wounds will stay open and fresh. You won, you know you won. so why not be the bigger person, and put you hand and your remarks out there in friendship, and not hate. If you think for one minute this party can and will heal, with remarks like that, then you are mistaken. And when Obama, loses to McCain in Nov. It will be people like you that will look in the mirror and say."What If."

    August 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  24. Helen, Detroit MI

    Cindy why are you always so negative. After listening to Hillary last night and all the Monday morning quarterbacking today I wouldn't worry about Obama losing the election. Many Hillary supporters may not change their minds but many will. Don't forget its now up to Obama to sell the Democratic ideals and ideas, not Hillary.

    My main concern is the youth vote will they get out and support Obama as they have promised to do or will they stay home like they did in the 2004 election.

    August 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  25. BJ

    I totally agree with Eric. I am also very sick and tired of these so called Hillary supporters who want everyone to bow down to them. How selfish and what sower loosers they are. I am trying to recall what great experience that George Bush had when he took office. He hasn't been ready since day one and he still isn't ready to lead anyone. His cowboy approach has ruined our standing across the world and he is too blind and self serving to notice. McCain really is too old.. come on people... I hate to say it but I believe that race is playing a major part in this whole Hillary support picture. I think there are people who are pushing Hillary in part because Barack is black. Let's face it. Both Hillary and Barack would probably make great presidents but the bottom line is that Barack won. At the end of the day the numbers said it all. Hillary supporters need to get over themselves. If they think that punishing Barack is the right thing to do I feel sorry for you. You are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Get Real! In my view even if Barack or Hillary were to take charge things won't change all that quickly anyway. There will be more fighting across the isle like always. This is more about ratings for newscasts and talk shows. After all this dies down I pretty much expect Washington to fall back into business as usual...

    August 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  26. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    Hillary,.

    Thank you for a beautifully written, thoughtful commentary on Hillary Clinton and the power of women. I have enjoyed your comments on air for some time now and this is a good opportunity to express my thanks for your insight, perceptiveness, good common sense and likeability.

    I wish I was as optimistic as you about women and power in politics. It's true that we have made some great strides in recent years, but the fact is that it has been a generation since Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as the first woman vice-presidential nominee. I wonder how long it will be until another woman takes the risk and runs for president. This was a tough loss for me personally. But I have learned patience as I have reached mid-life and will wait until next time. I am so proud of Hillary for showing everyone what a smart, classy, tough, strong woman she really is. That speech was the highlight of her career, a shining moment when somehow she managed to get past her own disappointment and frustration and find the words to reach out to help the rest of us take the journey with Barack Obama.

    Regarding an earlier post on here about Hillary's supporters sinking Obama, that is just wishful thinking. They will come along in enough numbers to help him win in November. They know we can't afford to elect another Republican as president.

    August 27, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  27. Dennis

    What % of democrats wanted biden as vp?

    August 27, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  28. eric

    Hey anderson, I’m confused, I like Hillary Clinton and it was her race to lose in the primary’s. But her team mismanaged her campaign because they thought it was in the bag. Buy the time they figured out how to counter Obama he was to far ahead to catch up on delegates. These so called Hillary voters have her team to blame for her lost not Obama. Now they realize how important Caucasus is. Also the truth about this thing on the Vice President is not told. If Hillary would have won the Dem’s would still have the same problem because African Americans would have wanted Obama to be the vice and would have also felt betrayed if it did not happen. The truth to the matter is what sounds good is not always good because the both lack experience unless you ad Bill as the personal advisor. Kennedy had Johnson, Regan had Bush 1, Bush 2 had Cheney and Bill had Gore. The only thing that Hillary or Obama could offer each other is popularity because neither has true foreign policy experience etc, but they are both very intelligent people and would make great presidents. Joe Biden was the right chose because in making change you have to have somebody who knows the system to help change the system. And his experience over shadows any military story that John McCain can tell.

    Eric

    Albany, Ga.

    August 27, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  29. Cindy

    Hillary's women and really all of her supporters do have the power to sink Obama's ship by voting for McCain. If the percentage of the ones that are claiming to be voting for McCain in November actually do then he is in big trouble.

    Cindy...Ga.

    August 27, 2008 at 3:21 pm |