July 28th, 2007
07:50 AM ET
11 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. Anonymous

    Why don't we all just wear the gray wigs like in the early years. We all seem metrosexual and gay these days anyhow. We might as well dress how the rest of the world views us.

    July 27, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    What's to be expected from this shallow, Paris Hilton-worshipping society we live in? I mean, really, what's the percentage of voters who intelligently read up on and discuss the numerous issues in the nation/world? 30%? 25%? Most Americans know more about American Idol than the candidate they will vote for (if they vote at all), and some will actually vote or not vote for someone for something as stupid as cleavage.

    July 27, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Travis

    Wow, the Clinton News Network is actually running Clinton adds as news. Shocker!

    July 27, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Alex - Kennewick, WA

    It took four days for Hillary to come up with a comeback?

    A haircut comment at the debate would have worked just fine.

    July 27, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. John, Oak Lawn, IL

    1. Hillary Clinton is not the most experienced and qualified candidate. (Joe Biden has been in the Senate since the Vietnam war...etc, etc.)She did indeed spend two terms in the White House. So did Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush! Her campaign's strategy seems to be that they should repeat that misleading line over and over until voters start to mistakenly believe it.

    2. People talked about Bill Clinton's "pasty white thighs" and the length of his running shorts. People discussed Al Gore's switch to earth tone suits in 2000, and John Kerry's possible botox treatments in 2004. Those candidates shrugged it off. She should follow her own husband's example.

    July 27, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Ethan

    I partially wonder why they took offense to the article in the Post. It was basically saying that over the years Hillary has become more confident and at ease. I am not sure that is a bad thing.

    July 27, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Ernie North Truro, MA

    Is discussing cleavage in the context of a style section so outrageous? It will be interesting to see how the "cleavage cash" appeal plays in Peoria.

    July 27, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Sue, New York, NY

    I took Edward's "coral jacket" comment as a cop out answer. He didn't want to say he couldn't stand her policies on X, her stance on Y, or how she's handled Z in her personal life so he went for the easy out and picked on her jacket. I doubt we'd be focusing on this if Hillary had said that she didn't care for one of the guys' ties.

    July 27, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Independent Voter, TN

    Vote for Hillary...she's got breasts!

    Or is it:

    Don't vote for Hillary...she's got breasts!

    Personally, I won't vote for her because she's another lawyer turned politician and Washington is already chock full of them. But the fact that someone has an issue with her cleavage is absolutely ridiculous.

    July 27, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. M. Anderson

    Anyone in a leadership position must have thick skin... Imagine if Chavez calls her "the mistress of the Devil" government will go into mourning...how pathetic!

    July 27, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Did anyone even look? Anyone? No? I mean seriously, Hillary is practically a man, anyway. Where are the cries of outrage from the activists and the family values groups? Frankly, I'm offended.

    July 27, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Ted, West Chester PA

    Oh, man, the "Clinton News Network" by Travis; that was hilarious.

    July 27, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Erica, Seattle, Washington

    I wish the public would not give Clinton problems because of her female physique. I wish they would focus on real problems such as Global poverty where every 3.6 seconds, another person dies of starvation [ Borgen Project]. What is going on?

    July 27, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Zak Washington DC

    This is not an issue of ignorant and sexist media versus women. All politicians are objectified. Their appeareance is often noted and I do not recall ever hearing an outcry over objectification of men being blamed on anti male bias. We have to look at the people we vote for, which is why we talk about what they look like.

    Clinton is taking advantage of those that are too naive and bitter to recognise that all widely viewed politicians will be objectified. I suggest you reread the last paragraph of the above article.

    This is not a vast sexist conspiracy or drawing attention away from HC's policy positions. You may notice that the Post put this article in its STYLE section. Would HC like to never be mentioned there again? Is there some context in which a woman candidate must never be discussed? Is her appearance really something we will not be able to discuss for eight years if we have to look at her for the next eight years??? That's absurd.

    If this were just about experience and policy issues, we would not be paying any attention at all to HC's body or her mind. We would be sitting here chatting away about the details of policy between Biden and other significantly more experienced male candidates. That's not the way it works and I'm glad. HC should be glad too.

    Anyway, in spite of how silly this controversy will make women who buy into it seem (and I'm sure it will work with a lot of women because yes, as one commenter just pointed out, a lot of Americans are vapid), I don't blame HC for pulling this victim stunt. It works. It's called politics. And she is just as much a manipulator as any of the boys. Ok. Good for her. It's an old trick of politicians and political speakers to tap into fears. I guess sexism is the HRC equivalent of Bill O'Reilly's libertine boogeymen and "Social Progressives" who are out everywhere, threatening everything good in the world.

    Get your base riled up with what they fear most. They'll stop thinking logically and open up their purse.

    July 27, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Joe, Boulder, CO

    Hillary is hot.

    July 27, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Bryan Tampa

    Or maybe real problems in America like Healthcare, Social Security, and Illegal Immigrants?

    July 27, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. BJ , Cinti OH

    "Wow, the Clinton News Network is actually running Clinton adds as news. Shocker!

    Posted By Travis : July 27, 2007 2:25 pm "

    Is that all you have? Well I wouldn't expect much more from someone named "Travis". Which southern state you from boy?

    Did Faux Snooze tell ya that one on their "fair and balanced" (cough cough) network?

    99.999% of tv media is right wing, fact, no matter how many times the right wing whines it's liberal...doesn't make it so.


    July 27, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Clem, Maryland

    This is simply a conspiracy between the media and the Clinton campaign to distract us from her cankles.

    Have you ever noticed that, much like its tacit agreement with FDR not to picture him in his wheelchair, the press never shows us Hillary from the waste down?

    July 27, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. John, Washington

    You're one to talk, "BJ"

    July 27, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Maurice, Washington, DC

    Seriously I am elated to see a woman give men a run for their money. It was interesting watching the debates because all the other candidates were ganging up on Clinton and she stood her grounds and no one knows and understands the issues like she does.

    I am not sure why people are threatened by Hillary so much. I guess the idea of power in the hands of a woman threatens them. Every other major democracy in the world has had female leaders and they've served just fine. Men have done the job for too long in this nation and have done a good job and not so good job depending on who you speak to. It's time a woman takes a stab at this job.
    I am a man but I am all for equal rights. I am judging Hillary on the content of her character and not on her sexuality

    July 27, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Zak Washington DC

    Really BJ? And it's okay to make fun of a southerner and call him "boy"? That's pretty hypocritical.

    I too mock southerners but you're a bit self-righteous to resort to that.

    Yes, Clinton News Network is funny.

    But I think you are right about the media being freightfully right wing and pro-war. Which may explain why they are friendly with the Clintons. It's a shame Clinton is part of that game. It's time for a real change.

    PS thanks for reminding me why so many people use the term femi-nazi. I thought it was immature and sexist until I met some real self-proclaimed feminists.

    Many of the most outspoken of them have serious issues that go far deeper than they admit. I suppose we'll have to crack down more on child molesters before we can stop this epidemic of man hating and bitter paranoia.

    July 27, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Scott Becker, Dearborn, MI

    In my opinion, John Edwards picked Hillary's jacket to "dislike" as a way to avoid mentioning something about her character. It was an innocuous choice to diffuse what could have been a damaging situation.

    July 27, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Jennie Sacramento California

    If the candidates were running to head the leading fashion magazine of the free world, the remarks made would be relevant. Given we're talking about the race for thePresident of the United States of America, I find the remarks irrelevant, I question the relevance of those engaging in the discussion and wonder about the relevance of the venue airing the discussion. You do realize it is not imperative that you run this discussion?

    July 27, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. Jon, Pittsburgh PA

    Ummm...the "most experienced and most qualified"? Based on what criteria? Biden, Richardson and Kucinich has lightyears more experience and qualifications than her. They aren't anywhere near as despised as her. Her whole staff is selling some bull story, man...

    July 27, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. H NY,NY

    Further proof why we need an independent candidate like Bloomberg or someone else.

    Yes, Hillary is unattractive but I am not referring to her looks.

    Its her ideas, and the baggage that follows her that make her unappealing to me.

    July 27, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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