July 28th, 2007
07:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Clinton seeks 'cleavage' cash

Clinton’s campaign is seeking to raise cash over recent attention devoted to the candidate's appearance.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Few political fundraising e-mails have ever carried the subject header “cleavage,” but White House hopeful Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sent a solicitation to supporters Friday with the attention-grabbing header in order to decry a recent Washington Post article devoted to the New York Democrat’s chest - and raise campaign cash in the process.

“Frankly, focusing on women’s bodies instead of their ideas is insulting,” Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Clinton, wrote in the e-mail. “It’s insulting to every woman who has ever tried to be taken seriously in a business meeting. It’s insulting to our daughters - and our sons - who are constantly pressured by the media to grow up too fast.”

“Take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness in American culture,” Lewis adds, with a link to make a contribution to the campaign. “And take a stand for Hillary, the most experienced, most qualified candidate running for president.”

Lewis is referring to an article published in last Friday’s Washington Post Style Section, in which reporter Robin Givhan claims Clinton’s cleavage was “on display” during a recent Senate floor speech.

“With Clinton, there was the sense that you were catching a surreptitious glimpse at something private. You were intruding - being a voyeur. Showing cleavage is a request to be engaged in a particular way,” Givhan wrote in the article which detailed Clinton’s style evolution over the years. “It doesn't necessarily mean that a woman is asking to be objectified, but it does suggest a certain confidence and physical ease.”

Lewis also indirectly aired her grievances with Clinton’s Democratic competitors John Edwards and Barack Obama, who, at the CNN/YouTube debate last Monday, discussed Clinton’s “coral” jacket. When asked to say something he didn’t like about the candidate to his left, Edwards joked he wasn’t fond of her jacket, to which Obama replied that he liked it.

“There will always be people who try to make a campaign about make up, clothes, and now, even cleavage,” Lewis wrote. “In fact, if you watched the last debate, you remember that Hillary's jacket was the subject of some discussion among the candidates - because it was coral.”

But Clinton isn’t the only presidential candidate whose appearance has undergone scrutiny. Edwards’s pricey haircuts, Obama’s frequently ‘open collar’, Arizona Sen. John McCain’s V-neck sweaters, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s expensive make-up jobs have all been the subject of past media attention.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. JoJo

    Actually have to agree that Hillary didn't dress to well. Thought she looked rather foolish. No an election isn't about that but come on, there is a time and place. Wear clothes/colors that fit you, not which colors your handlers have polled and say looks appropiate

    July 28, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. T. Hatcher

    You couldn't do much worse than a headline that reads: "Clinton seeks ‘cleavage’ cash." Sure it's a nice tease, but for anyone who doesn't bother to read the story, it's only going to mislead.

    July 28, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. alvan Beverly Hills Fl.

    Wether I am for Hillary or not is besides the question, I believe a woman should use any tool in her arsenal to get the job done, as long as it isn't muckraking. Ditto for men. There is so much pettiness in our society, good politicians were rendered non-grata. for a social indiscretion, and incompetents were ushered in and called presidents.

    July 28, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Elizabeth, Minnesota

    "Hillary’s only 5 foot 4. Imagine her visiting one of those middle eastern countries. They’ll probably pat her on the head, call there kids to play with her and Like CNN give her a podium to stand on when making a speech.

    Posted By Kevin NH : July 27, 2007 6:55 pm "

    Actually, I read Madame Albrights 900 page memoir and one point she made very clear is that she could go anywhere as Amassador and was taken very seriously not because of her gender but because she REPRESENTS AMERICA.

    My only problem with Hillary is she's not a fresh new person. She has 8 years of baggage as First Lady, plus any baggage from her Senator position. If we had a NEW female running then the "person vs gender" debate would look rather different.

    July 28, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Perry Clifton Springfield, Ohio

    I find it rather sad that with the world's problems, the only item of discussion here is clothing!??! Perhaps with a little foresight, those involved in the "dressgate" controversy might consider a few other problomatic issues such as Iraq, the economy, and distance that President Bush appears to be placing himself from the American people. WHO cares about Mrs. Clinton's dress color!!!

    July 28, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |

    Ms. Clinton, at almost 60 it is no longer clevage. The chest is called breast at this age. No matter how firm a woman is, they are still old breast.

    July 28, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. JB Hull Iowa

    You don't see Obama running ads implying that Clinton is a racist. Why she can get away with trying to paint Edwards and Obama as sexists and still be taken seriously as a candidate is beyond me. She's gone beyond rediculous with this one.

    July 28, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. Carly KC MO

    Almost a man? What exactly do you mean by that idiotic comment? Almost a man....hum....really original. So, when a woman is in a position of power and authority that makes her almost a man? Boy, and to think that we are spouting ourselves as a forward thinking equal society. We sure have a long way to go huh?

    July 28, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Kate Johnson, Colo. Springs, Colorado

    Go over to Huffington Post and you can see the jacket and top that caused fashion writer Robin Givhan to gasp in The Washington Post that it was the sartorial equivalent of a man's open fly. You could see more than that at most church services and certainly any office in America. The fact that Clinton's political team decided to channel the ridiculous barb into a fundraising opportuntiy is just politics in America. Why not? Clinton didn't do anything wrong. There is a great rebuttal to the whole thing in an article by Judith Warner in today's NYT. She suggests that Ms. Givhans works with so many anorexics that a regular woman's body seems to be some sort of shock to her. The Hillary haters out there will need to find some other lame reason to continue their rant, especially the ones speaking with great authority who did not even read the article and don't get it why there was a political response.

    July 28, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. Lance, Los Angeles, CA.

    To me, Obama is a visionary leader. He has far more experience in the real world than Clinton or any of the other candidates. Everything I hear and read about him furthers this. He was a civil rights attorney, he worked to rise people above their stations. He is the kind of leader that comes along once a generation if we’re lucky. I’ve just read “the Audacity of Hope” and it was so stirring, so clear, so clearly written not by a ghost writer but in the voice of the man himself. Barry Obama is the real deal, he’s the sort of fighter that we need oh so desperately in these trying times. I would go door to door for this candidate, I would believe he would look at any issue either foriegn or domestic with clear eyes and make decisions that were both humane and smart for our country and the world. The other candidates all strike me as fodder for lobbists, career politicians. I remember how moved I was when I heard his speech during Kerry’s convention. He is indeed a uniter, someone who can bring this sadly divided dis union back into union again. People will put paintings and photos on their walls of this man in the same way they do JFK or MLK. Mark my words, America and the world will prosper under President Obama. To see that happen I’d gladly travel to Ohio, to South Carolina, to Iowa, or anywhere else I needed to go to ensure he gets a fair shot. That’s all the man needs, is one good fair shot. Given his due he’ll do us right. Do the research. Don’t be a lemming. Read about him, read his own words. They aren’t sound bites, they’re living, breathing, human thoughts full of compassion and common sense, stength and integrity. Really look at this candidate. Do your kids and their kids the biggest favor of our lives.

    July 28, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. lipper AMERICAN

    This is just excellent reporting! With an administration in power that makes Nixons' gang look like a bunch of pranksters I can see why CNN would rather write about cleavage........God, please help America!

    July 29, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  12. David, Cape Town, South Africa

    It is surprising that it is still surprising to some that Al Gore is out of love with politics, but the ad is the type of mistake that should not have been made. The HRC campaign should have stayed focused on the issues by staying focused on the issues... goodness knows they are serious enough.

    July 29, 2007 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  13. H.jones Newport News VA.

    America's, a joke to the world, and for reasons like this and the media is responsible Tell me when our troops are coming home, Homes for the Homeless but this
    Or, OMG, I refuse to say her name. As male or female here's the deal, Why were you starring at her Cleavage anyway, MMMM, looking is one thing, but starring can make some people Hot, some females may become extremely hot because of, their lack of endowment and as far as, the Men/Dogs of America it's shameful how most Males have no control over their body members and in Washington D C, that's America's best keep secret,
    So when are you guys going to pass a bill executing the Corrupted?

    July 29, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  14. Shana, St. Louis, MO

    I'm totally disgusted with all of this discussion about Hillary Clinton's cleavage. It is sexism at it's worst- and in the "political ticker" you've attempted to avoid responsibility for propelling these discussions by focusing on the controversy. "Look what other people are talking about- Can you believe it?" In reality, however, you're keeping people focused on a totally irrelevant aspect of Clinton's candidacy. And no, there is no true comparison to discussions of McCain's sweaters, etc. To even make that comparison is insulting to all women, not just Clinton. This article belongs in a tabloid or on FOX news, not on CNN.

    July 29, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    TO: Lance, LA, CA

    I have nothing against Obama BUT –

    If You Feel Obama is such a Visionary Leader, has far more experience in the real world than Clinton, and you enjoyed his BOOK SO MUCH "“the Audacity of Hope” I WOULD THINK YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET HIS NAME RIGHT!
    Barry Obama?????? WHAT A JOKE !
    I hope when you proudly display his painting on your wall you do it justice by signing his True Given Name! HA
    And how about you detail for us all his experience and great characteristics. Words are just shallow rantings void of proof.

    "To me, Obama is a visionary leader. He has far more experience in the real world than Clinton or any of the other candidates. Everything I hear and read about him furthers this. He was a civil rights attorney, he worked to rise people above their stations. He is the kind of leader that comes along once a generation if we’re lucky. I’ve just read “the Audacity of Hope” and it was so stirring, so clear, so clearly written not by a ghost writer but in the voice of the man himself. Barry Obama is the real deal, he’s the sort of fighter that we need oh so desperately in these trying times"

    July 29, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. Jeff Fisher Washington DC

    The money is not going to save Hillary this time. Jeff Fisher is revealing all in the Court room with Patrick J Fitzgerald. Cheney is so nervous because the truth of treason is coming out and Fisher is going right for the legal knockout.

    July 30, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Tom, Omaha Nebraska

    CNN International 7:50-55 AM EST 31 July just reported:



    they just conveniently left out which man: G BUSH!

    I have just scanned all the CNN blog entries, and only 3 fit this bill:

    1. Zak Washington DC : July 27, 2007 3:27 pm – He calls the Clinton Campaign's reaction a "Victim Stunt"

    2. Clem, Maryland : July 27, 2007 3:35 pm – Says they're covering up her "cankles" (must mean "ankles")

    3. My blog entry above July 28, 2007 8:14 am

    Where I accuse the Clinton campaign of distracting from the the fact that Obama had nailed her as BUSH-lite.

    Furthermore, I agree with Zak that she pulled a victim stunt to these ends.

    I understand I'm being outrageously unrealistic to even suggest that someone at CNN actually paid attention to my comment, then "spun" it, but there you are. They said the criticism came from the Internet.

    Or are they looking at other companies' blogs more than their own blog? That wouldn't be very professional, would it?

    July 31, 2007 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. Robert Ashton, San Jose, California

    Obama's open collar, Romney's make up, Carter's cardigan, Reagan's hair dye, Nixon's five o'clock shadow, Kennedy's ManTan, Roosevelt's hidden wheel chair - nothing new here. Except maybe the public's obsession, accomodated by the ratings-hungry media, with form over substance - a trend, like mercenary armies, to be noted by a future Gibbons in "The Rise and Fall of the American Empire."

    But the attention given to Hillary's neckline - or cleavage or breasts - is a little more fundamental. It goes to resistence to change in our society, and to our immaturity when it comes to matters sexual.

    Women are viewed as powerful and threatening by a lot of us men, in part because they were dominent in the early life of each of us, in part because many of us suspect that our own sexual impulses can give women great leverage over us.

    There's no secret that male-dominated society (and the women who buy into it for their own reasons) has worked pretty hard to keep women subservient for millenia, at least in many societies. Why keep a group subservient if you don't fear them?

    Seeing that Hillary is - omigod! - an anatomically correct female just raises the stakes in the game. Are people really willing to allow a woman to run things if she appears actually to be female? Or only if she conceals or downplays her gender (and where DID Chelsea come from, after all?)? Or, maybe, in the privacy of the voting booth, we'll justify pulling a different lever, even though we know she's experienced and thoughtful and steady, by saying we just find her abrasive or manipulative.

    No, it's not really about Hillary's cleavage. It's about America's lack of maturity. An immaturity that allowed us to be comfortable electing an apparent "just plain folk" phony because we didn't have to think about it. An immaturity that leads people to draw conclusions on something so superficial as a not-immodest neckline rather than policy acumen.

    July 31, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Elisabeth Squires, Seattle, WA

    If you want to read a post that CNN Tracker deleted from this string (and maybe offer up a reason why), please visit http://www.mammoirs.com and read my blog.

    July 31, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  20. Alyssa, Irvine CA

    This is a stupid topic. Why don't we ALL read about what she actually really thinks instead of what she was sporting that day because it's frankly, ridiculous. Get on with it people, women have baggage up there, and sometimes it's really kind of okay to highlight or acknowledge its presence.
    Honestly, she didn't pull a Janet Jackson.

    August 8, 2007 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
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