WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a drive to mobilize women voters to help her break the “hardest and highest” glass ceiling by winning the White House.
Clinton, a New York senator who hopes to become the first woman US president, said her experiences as “a woman, wife and mother” would shape her campaign and influence her decisions if she reaches the Oval Office.
“I believe that my experiences and qualifications place me in a unique position that equip me with skills that can let me hit the ground running in January 2009,” she said at a luncheon for Emily’s List, an influential group that helps Democratic women candidates who favour abortion rights and have chosen to back Hillary all the way.
Clinton, who leads a crowded pack of Democratic White House contenders in early polls of the 2008 race, opened a “Women for Hillary” programme that will use the Internet to enlist thousands of activists into a Women Leaders Network on behalf of her campaign.
The effort will use high-profile and groundbreaking women to promote Clinton’s candidacy, including the first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, the first woman vice presidential nominee, Geraldine Ferraro and former tennis great Billie Jean King.
Women voters account for more than half of the American electorate and Clinton has already won more than 70% of the women’s vote in her runaway 2006 Senate re-election victory.
“Guess what, I’m a woman, and I know it’s on people’s minds,” Clinton said at the luncheon. “To all those who say a woman cannot be elected president, I say ‘we’ll never know unless we try and that is what I am going to do in this campaign.”
Clinton said she would introduce legislation to ensure equal pay for women and ensure that the work place is as gender neutral as is possible.
“I ask people to vote for me based on my entire life experience and I assure you that if I get elected I will take that with me not only through this campaign but into the Oval Office,” she said with just the right hint of American optimisim peppered with a gender perspective that is politically correct, on a day exclusively reserved for women.