November 15th, 2007
10:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton on gender: 'I'm not exploiting anything'

Sen. Clinton denied that she had tried to play what pundits have called the "gender card" since an earlier Democratic presidential debate.

(CNN) - The Democratic frontrunner for the presidential nomination Thursday night swiftly rejected accusations that she may have been "exploiting gender as a political issue" through recent remarks about running for the presidency as a woman.

"I am not exploiting anything at all," Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York declared at the debate.

"I'm not playing, as some people say, the gender card here in Las Vegas, I'm just trying to play the winning card. I understand very well that people are not attacking me because I'm a woman. They're attacking me because I'm ahead."

The remarks drew applause throughout the room.

When pressed about her recent remark at her alma mater, Wellesley College, about how the school helped prepare her for the "all boys' club of presidential politics," Clinton responded, "It is clear, I think, from women's experiences, that from time to time, there may be some impediments. And it has been my goal, over the course of my lifetime, to be part of this great movement of progress that includes all of us but has particularly been significant to me as a woman."

She noted that while she is aiming "toward the highest, hardest glass ceiling," she is not "running because I'm a woman. I'm running because I think I'm the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running."

Clinton added that as she travels the country campaigning, some older women tell her they were born before a woman could vote and add, "I want to live long enough to see a woman in the White House."

Asked whether any of them believe Clinton is playing a gender card, none of the other candidates on stage seemed to jump at the chance. Since former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina was given the floor, he spoke only generally, saying, "I think that every single candidate on this stage should be held to exactly the same standard" and that voters should understand the differences.

Related video: The gender issue

- CNN's Josh Levs

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Michael, Hilton Head, South Carolina

    How can you say you are not playing the gender card then say people tell you they want to see a woman president before they die? Maybe people say that but making it public clearly makes it seem like she is playing the gender card.

    November 15, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |


    November 15, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. Jill B Nashville, TN

    Are you using your husband to get the ticket ? Yes you are exploiting. Try again.

    November 15, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. Karen N, Delaware

    All women want to see a woman in the White House, but i am sorry, you don't fit the bill, inmores ways then one.

    November 15, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. Dave, Dallas, PA

    There is a big difference between noting an obvious Glass Ceiling and Playing the Gender Card. That Card was pulled from the bottom of someone else's deck in what I hope was an unguarded moment of panic.

    Noticing that the Presidency in the US has been all male is also not too much for us to expect from any valid Presidential candidate.

    November 15, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Jane Tulsa, OK

    Why not play the gender card? This is historic and should be recognized as such. There is a qualified, honest-to-goodness female contender for the White House...finally!!!

    November 15, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. DJ, Atlanta

    Nice planted questions CNN. The "unscripted" questioner that just asked the retirement question blew that cover for you all...


    November 15, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  8. jim yuma, az

    there are people out that that will say hatefull things about sen. clinton simply because they hate what she and her husband stand for and what they have done for our counrty.

    November 15, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  9. Lauren, New York

    If she is exploiting gender, than Obama is exploiting race.

    November 15, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I think it is amazing how Hillary answers questions. She is ask a question and then she starts talking about anything she wants, which is not even close to answering the question ask of her. I can not believe that she is given a pass and not ask to give a direct answer to the question ask.

    November 15, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. Danielle, New York, New York


    HILLARY '08

    November 15, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  12. Tex Mex , NYC, NY

    Blitzer is clearly pro-Clinton and anti-Obama. Both his tone and demeanor when questioning Obama is uncalled for.

    November 15, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. Pete, Moorhead, Minnesota

    I think Hillary is doing great! Is she playing the gender card? I don't think so. Even if she was, so what? Are my fellow men scared of a woman as the leader of the United States and that she'll live in a great big White House with men (and women) protecting her? I say, Go Hillary, Go! I have your bumper sticker on my van!

    November 15, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. chrischris, Burlington MA

    This may be a bit off topic but I'll just say it: I love the political ticker but I have to ask (again) – is CNN under some sort of mandate to give Hilary Clinton so much airtime in relation to the other candidates? It astounds me. Please folks, balance your coverage. If you want to focus on frontrunners than at least give Obama and Edwards equal time on your frontpages and this ticker. Good job otherwise.

    November 15, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |

    she herself does not play the gender card, however everyone in her campaign does it, and she knows that they do. Oh, and she also rides on the coat tail of her husband.... Hillary is a joke, a fake, and says nothing but bs. She has no real stance on any real issue, rather any original idea on any real issue. Please people, join me and look past her. See through her. See through her bs.

    November 15, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. George, Akron, OH

    I think Hillary is doing great; a lot better than the last debate. It looked to be a very heated debate early on but it quickly got calmer.

    HILLARY 08'

    November 15, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Joe

    Please don't tell me that you want a female as the President and then tell me that she is the one you want. You should all know that she wont do anything to change NAFTA because it would embaress Bill if he becomes the next "first lady" of the United States.

    November 15, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. Matthew from Iowa City, IA

    Senator Clinton is doing great, as well as Governor Richardson and Senator Edwards, and surprisingly Dodd. Obama seems to be stumbling over a few of his answers, but maybe he is just not a great public speaker. I am still undecided but leaning towards Clinton.

    November 15, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. Ben

    This is a general statement that has nothing to do with any of the candidates performance. CNN SUCKED AT HOSTING THIS DEBATE!!! I don't think one of the candidates had a chance to say anything legitimate and the questions were small minded just like the "moderators." What happended to Jim Lehrer or real journalists.

    November 15, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  20. Jarrod Williamson-Londonderry, NH

    I think the kyl-lieberman vote has hurt Hillary's campaign. She was the only candidate that voted for it. Now, I see why she voted for it and it makes since, but given what President Bush has done in Iraq and Afghanistan, I do not think it was a smart vote. But she has stood behind it the whole time even though it is unpopular so I respect her for that. I plan to still vote for her in the primary and hopefully the general election.

    Clinton 08'

    November 15, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  21. Mike B

    Is this the game when people can call BS on an obvious lie. Wolf call her out on this! Seriously the past 2 weeks have been her slamming the rest for gender bias. Mark Penn said she will get 25% of republican women. Is that not the gender card!!!

    November 15, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  22. Chris, Pensacola FL

    This debate was a sick joke. Everything centered around her. It's all a play. I really don't get why CNN sets up this false debate. They attack everyone that opposes Clinton on stage. They are her bodyguard. I don't get it. Why is the media doing this stuff? Furthermore, why am I the only one that seems to get this. Am I awakened or in a matrix?

    November 15, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  23. Leo, VA

    Hillary was just wonderful.

    November 15, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  24. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    Officially the worst debate ever. Nice work CNN! I don't know what was worse, the uncontrollable crowd or Wolf going "uh, yeah, uh, thank you, uh, next". Best Political Team?!?! I don't think so!

    November 15, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. Jennifer, San Francisco, CA

    I am not a supporter of Hillary, but even if she doesn't exploit the gender card, she receives questions that other candidates don't – questions about her husband and her husband's record. The media should stick to her alone, I haven't heard other candidates address questions about their spouses. And I agree with a past post, there are far more important questions to pose.

    November 15, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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