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. Bernard, Scotch Plains, NJ

    What is this LOVEFEST CNN Post Debate has for Hillary, is it me or does CNN not even care anymore if the public knowd they are bias to here, you would think that Hillary was the only one on stage, and why would CNN have two former Clinton Advisors and Clinton supportors on the post debate, are you really kidding me CNN?

    Dear God, please bring back fair journalism...

    November 15, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  2. Stacey

    Clinton's campaign doesn't need to play the gender card. The media – as well as many of her critics – do it for her. All political candidates will whip out whatever "cards" work in their best interest. But why is the perception of playing the gender card worse than playing the poverty card or the race card? Why aren't critics waiting to pounce on Edwards when he invokes his blue-collared up-bringing? Like race and gender, that was a situation that he was born into, yet he touts it as if it were an accomplishment.

    November 15, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  3. james, new york

    this was absolutely the worst moderated debate in the history of debates. we're coming close to the elections and this is the type of "serious" discussion we have with the audience hooting and hollering.

    pathetic. i won't be surprised if cnn tries to hide this one.

    November 15, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  4. Ben Johnson, Urbandale, IA CLINTON COUNTRY

    CNN does seem to like Clinton, are you guys watching the post debate? It's all about Clinton. I have read on hear people calling it the Clinton News Network, but come on? I am a huge Clinton supporter, but give the other candidates some air time too. I love to hear about my candidate but I also like to hear about her opponents.

    Go Hillary! Just keep up the great work and great debates and you will win the nomination and then you can focus on the general election!


    November 15, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. Steve, Washington DC


    Give someone else a chance!!!

    She is the corrupt elite like Romney.

    November 15, 2007 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  6. Jack Myers, OH

    Clinton had the most to lose and she did not mess up. She was steady and concise the whole night. She, in my opinion, won the debate. Although, Biden and Dodd both had outstanding performances!

    Clinton still has my vote.

    November 15, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  7. Marko dezdri, Portland, OR

    I love you Hillary, Madam President! You did terrific!!

    November 15, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. Cassandra, Opa Loko, FL

    CNN was biased toward the other candidates and seems to favor hillary. She was asked hand-picked questions. She is such a phony. I would like to see a woman president in the White house, but not her. Pleeze! Give me a break!
    Obama 08

    November 15, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  9. mike columbus ohio

    They are talking about Clinton a lot, but with the hit she took in the last few weeks, I would expect it, she was under a microscope tonight

    November 15, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  10. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    Hey CNN,

    The Clinton campaign called and wants their talking points back.

    Their tired of you using up all the Clinton love.


    Say it three times and click your heels.

    I thought Fox News was bad (and it is), but CNN is now on the same level. Sad!

    November 15, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  11. Lisa-Columbia, SC

    I believe Sen. Clinton will say and do anything to win. As for the gender card, oh yes, she plays it carefully right up to the time it isn't working for her anymore. She takes large portions of the Federal budget to give to special interest groups, friends, campaign contributers and accepts money from lobbist(Is it any wonder why she has such a large war chest?) Anytime scandal is associated with her, first she denies it then when it's proven, she says she didn't know about it and places the blame elsewhere. (Do a little research.) One of many examples that sums up Hillary for me; when Bill had his problems with Monica, Hillary went in front of the Nation saying it was a right wing conspiracy. Now she either didn't know what was going on right under her nose (not a good quality in a President) or she flat out lied. I want a candidate that loves America more than themselves and understands it is not a glass ceiling of power but the most difficult job of PUBLIC SERVICE.

    November 15, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. Aurora Billings, Plattsburgh NY

    As an intelligent, educated woman, I will not be tempted into voting for someone simply because we share the same gender. I do not agree with Hillary Clinton's politics or her artificial policies. Moreover, I don't trust her. I am tired of the media (and Mrs. Clinton's campaign managers) implying that women will vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman. Does everyone really think women are that stupid? How about giving us credit for being able to think and make a decision on the candidates based on their ideas, policies, and experience? Oh and, Hillary? Sorry, but being First Lady for a few years doesn't make you the most qualified. It just means you don't need a tour.

    November 15, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  13. Dora, Washington

    Bravo Barack. You answered the questions tonight with straight answers. Hillary, once again, could not, and did not, answer the Social Security question. As far as how the debate was run, Wolf turned into a 'little lamb' tonight, and 'rolled over' and heeded the 'advise' from the Clinton Machine, not to pick on Hillary. I also wonder, when did Hillary 'plant' those questions, for tonights debate, on Wolf's desk? So much for 'journalistic integrity'. I am proud of Barack for telling the American peolpe the truth, and answering ALL questions, about the issues facing our country. Go Barack go!!!

    November 15, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. Alex, Cyberville IT

    I just have to say you're not a real man Ben the way you speak of Clinton. If this were the wild west, you'd be dun fer.

    I also hate this new invented word waffle. I hated it when they invented hunker down a few years ago during the hurricanes. Why does the media invent words? Why does the public seem to use them like they've been using them all their lives? There are too many people brainwashed by TV. WAKE THE *&() UP!

    November 15, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  15. P Brown, OKC OK

    Bring back Tim Russert. This was set up for the Hillary Clinton show. And, Obama has not used the race card. He could have tonight but the time was gven to Hillary to give that fake answer about women's sufferage. Give me a break. Barack has never mentioned anything about blacks not being able to vote and having equal opportunity. If folks want to talk about equal opportunity, just ask any white female how much affirmative action has helped them. Seems like the glass ceiling has been broken many times before now.

    November 15, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  16. Wendy

    Now all obama supporters complain about CNN. When MSNBC attacked Clinton and asked silly question to Obama what costume you will wear, how come you did not complain about fairness? Things do come back to you, don't they?

    November 15, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  17. dan, bronx, ny

    Thats it for me. I am sticking to MSNBC. At least they try to be fair. If Hillary gets the nomination she will polarize this country like no one else and bye bye white house. And congress. When are people going to wake up and see the Clintons are shisters carpet baggers and crooks. The republicans are so wanting a clinton nomination because they have a Oil tankers worth of dirt on the clintons. If she gets the nod i am staying home election day. CNN lost me as a viewer. Thier bias to clinton is so flagrant. Its like Fox news towards guilinaai. Un believable. it is the Clinton News Network after all. How did they manage to stack the audience with hillary supporters? Obama represents real change . he may be inexperienced but Hillary is the biggest phony ever.

    November 15, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  18. BANJO


    November 15, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    She's not playing the gender card, she's charging the entire Fall catalog of Nordstroms on it.

    November 15, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. sk, NY, NY

    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.

    Posted By Michael, Hilton Head, South Carolina : November 15, 2007 9:43 pm

    May be she is or may be she is not?

    One thing is clear that can't be challenge tonight that she is a woman and she is ahead of obama & edward.

    November 15, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  21. Jim L., Irmo, SC

    I am glad to read that many other people were disgusted by the obvious favoritism that was shown to Clinton. This is really bad. I am tempted to not vote for Clinton now because this really makes it seem like she is trying to orchestrate everything within an inch of its life. It was really disgusting.

    November 15, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  22. TR, Minneapolis MN

    Hillary's still got it! It's truly hard to deny that she had a great night and has what it takes to run this country! Her and Biden had the best night...

    Oh...and let's the drop the Hillary bashing already and the gender card debate. The audience, moderators, and other campaigns are making gender an issue. No one was asking any of the men questions about their jewel preference or other fashion-related preferences. To even question the gender issue when Hillary herself hasn't raised it as an "issue" demonstrates the inherent sexism that still negatively impacts women in this country everyday. Of course she's going to talk about the 95-year-old woman who wants to see her in the White House – she's simply demonstrating that those who challenge her on being a woman candidate are the ones making the issue of it.

    Hillary '08! (Perhaps Hillary/Joe '08!?!)

    November 15, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  23. M. C. B. N., Ft. Collins, Colorado

    Go Hillary! How can gender NOT be an issue? The United States has a qualified woman candidate running for President for the first time in US history. Patriarchs, Republicans and insecure men and women of America, it was bound to happen...Bush was the perfect catalyst for this potential of progress and promise for the future. She couldn't do any worse that's for sure. The reason people dislike her so much is because she's perceived as a threat. BS really? Is that all you get from her? Are you really listening, or are you just another mind polluted by talking points? By media propaganda? By US history? Any of these candidates would do better than the current administration, Hillary just happens to stand out because she is educated and has spent a lifetime in politics and she's a (gasp) strong woman. It is not the ignorance of a mass and those who suport her, but ignorance of the unknown. A woman President? She's ahead because she makes sense, not because her supporters can't think for themselves. For all the men out there who feel Hillary is the right candidate, and are not afraid to say so, you are one of many things that is right with this country!!! Thank you HIllary. You give me hope.

    November 15, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. Bridget, Tucson, AZ

    Of course she's playing the gender card! Who wouldn't in her position? She could have atleast been more honest and upfront about this answer-instead of giving contradictory and often unclarified answers. She quoted a 95 year old woman saying that she "was alive before women could vote and wants to be alive to see the first woman president"-how can you say she isn't trying to appeal to female voters here? but further emphasizes how many women are voting for Sen. Clinton solely because she is a female. Yes, there is a need for gender (& race) equality within the government, but this is a very weak reason to vote for who will lead our country, and her answer (and the resounding applause following) further emphasizes that many voters are focused on the gender issue and Clinton's overuse of this as her power card, and not on who would be the most competent president. Furthermore, she continues to cite her "experience in the White House as the first lady" but failed to provide documentation or clarification on what exactly she did. The state of the our government is far too important to make such simple decisions on who leads our country. We need a president who makes history by their competency, intelligence, honesty, action and dedication, not a president who makes history simply because she is a woman.

    November 15, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. Dave, Dallas, PA

    Like it or not, Hillary is the front-runner. As such, she gets the focus right now. If someone else was a clear front-runner, it would be them getting the focus. It's really as simple as that. It's Sen. Clinton right now - get over it folks. If you don't like Sen. Clinton as the front-runner, go campaign for one of the others.

    November 15, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
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