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. Zak Washington DC

    "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?

    Posted By Jennie Sacramento California"

    Are you kidding? You just read these comments and then added one yourself.

    There is a scroll button on your mouse. Use it.

    By the way, as absurd as your comment is, thanks. It is also meaningless and irrelevant. But I find it amusing enough that I'm responding.

    So thanks.

    This is entertainment. If you want to stick with only hard news, scroll right on passed this article and don't click on the comments.

    Have a nice day!

    July 27, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. John

    “Clothes? Make up? Cleavage? What’s really important in this race? Help Hillary Fight For What Matters.”

    It doesn’t take a journalism degree to understand that the header of this email is to point out that one’s appearance is not the important issue in this presidential race. So how did CNN not get it? Instead, CNN selects one word of the many in the header text, ignores the true and obvious intent of the header, and reports that Clinton is attempting to grab attention using this word in attempts to get “cleavage cash”. No, Clinton is not using the word “cleavage” to grab people’s attention, but CNN certainly is.

    July 27, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    you forgot hair – they had a whole montage on hillary's hair during her senate race.

    July 27, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. John Pikeville Kentucky

    Hillary Clinton’s touting of her experience is almost comical. Being the wife of a president is not the same as being an accountable public official. The one policy chore she had as first lady, health care reform, was a failure. Though I appreciate her service in the Senate, nothing she has done reflects the insight of a seasoned public servant. I think she is a fine individual, but certainly not what I would call "experienced."

    Her indictment of Barack Obama is fair, however; whether his ideas about dealing with dictators are good or not, he is inexperienced. He wasn’t in the Senate to vote for or against the Iraq war, so no one knows how he would have voted. He said he would deal with dictators and this is right. But, I don’t think his answer is born out of a keen political acumen, but instead is simply a reaction to the foreign policy of President Bush.

    Bill Richardson is the candidate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are trying to depict themselves as. He is the one with the experience and "fresh ideas." It is ironic that, whoever is elected president, will be on the phone to Governor Richardson asking for his help. And he will help because he is a patriot. But wouldn't it be better to put the man who knows what needs to be done at the top? Why put an amateur in charge of the professional?

    The media has taken the place of the political machines of yore, limiting the candidates to the ones who draw the most viewers; iconoclasm has taken over meaningful dialogue on policy and action; ratings are more important than the public good. I'd like to see more coverage of the all the other candidates, not just the ones who stir up the most controversy.

    July 27, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Mike, Coarsegold Calif.

    I don't think BJ knows his left from right. 99.9% media for the right? Give me a break.

    July 27, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Brenda; Annapolis, MD

    let's be real people–the real culprit are the media outlets.

    the papers and magazines and news shows report what they think is "news worthy" (i.e. bring in more viewers). in addition, their slight bias (and i stretch the word "slight") is able to sway the reader completely. there's no way that there will ever be a fair election with all candidates represented equally unless the media stays out of it. clinton and obama have been talked about TO DEATH. there are other candidates. this just further proves why our country needs to go back to having three party elections (and three BIG parties they should be). it's the only way we'll have any real options in a media-driven society. not to mention, it will keep everyone on their toes as well as strive more for the betterment of the people. after all, more candidates = more competition = more people to please

    July 27, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. teresa keith twin lakes wi

    I think its important to look
    professional if your running for
    president.Showing cleavage is not
    a wise choise.

    July 27, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Another "talk is cheap" stunt by Hillary.

    July 27, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. John Conkel, Las Vegas, NV

    Years ago when Ms.Clinton was running for the Senate in New York, I received a request for money. I lived in Colorado. I sent a check for .02 and told them never to write me again and to remove me from their mailing list.
    I never recieved any more requests for money, but they actually cashed the check–that's right, they cashed a check for two cents!

    July 27, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    these guys and gals need to get over it. it's ok to spend one one hundredth of your time joking about these types of things (and don't take it seriously) AND THEN, get on with the serious business.
    after all, women don't want to be men and men don't want to be women but it's fun to spar on occasion isn't it. can you believe that presidential candidates aren't grown up enough to understand the basics and focus on the real issues??? pleaaaaseeee.........!!!

    July 27, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. Erin, New York, NY

    I agree that Edward's remark was basically a cop out, an attempt at levity…

    But, at the same time, I can't blame Hillary for insisting that the focus remain on the issues. After all, she was actually asked during the YouTube debate, if she felt she would be taken seriously as president because she's a woman. It's a major hurdle, being the first serious female candidate for the presidency, and I'm sure she's just trying to prevent herself from trivialized.

    July 27, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. T, Kansas City, Mo.

    Why did I just waste 5 mintues reading these comments about a totally stupid topic? And why did all of you waste time writing them?

    July 27, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. Mark, Hayden Colorado

    And WHY are we giving this any attention at all?

    July 27, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. tammi lynn nichols-parnell

    look last time i checked my husband paints fit like mine do i think hillary looks like a lady and acts like one. no one is asking the men hey take your paints off because size does matter well show them hillary they look better than bushes!!!!!!for the last 8 years the worst years of my familys life

    July 27, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. Kevin NH

    People who think Bush has more calories beware. Bush Lite calories has been known to hide its true colors in the begining then come out once the buyers are duped into buying it.

    July 27, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. Mike Dallas, TX

    Why didn't respond right away? Because it is a non issue but finally it occured to them they can use the story to EXPLOIT some campaign contribution. Sadly CNN fell for it by further publicizing it. It is suffice to say I have seen nice and imaginative ways to raise money and I think this one is simply dumb. It assumes women are so emotional and they will reach their purses right away in anger. How insulting.

    July 27, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. Kevin NH

    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.

    July 27, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. tammi lynn nichols-parnell


    July 27, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Sue, Midland, MI

    Here is another dumb article about nothing. I'm sure Edwards mentioned the jacket (1) in an attempt at humor, and (2) because he was uncomfortable saying what he REALLY doesn't like about Hillary. To spend time on this instead of the issues makes the campaign a farce. We have very serious problems in this country, let's focus on them, PLEASE!

    July 27, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. Dave, Evergreen, CO

    I think she was just trying to get Bill's attention.

    July 27, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. Andrew E, Hampton, VA

    “Clothes? Make up? Cleavage? What’s really important in this race? Help Hillary Fight For What Matters.”

    It doesn’t take a journalism degree to understand that the header of this email is to point out that one’s appearance is not the important issue in this presidential race. So how did CNN not get it? Instead, CNN selects one word of the many in the header text, ignores the true and obvious intent of the header, and reports that Clinton is attempting to grab attention using this word in attempts to get “cleavage cash”. No, Clinton is not using the word “cleavage” to grab people’s attention, but CNN certainly is.
    Posted By John : July 27, 2007 4:23 pm

    John, what I gleaned from this article is that Hillary, not anyone else, made a big deal about the cleavage comment. In a very real sense, Hillary is "using" her cleavage to raise money. The only way to treat such a trivial tidbit is to ignore it; what Robin Givhan says in the Style section of the Washington Post is vastly different from what Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward say in the National News section. For my part, I'm not even sure if Givhan is a man or a woman.

    I think I know why Hillary is throwing up these straw-man (she might demand i say "straw person") arguments: if people voted for her based on her merits and her so-called "experience," she'd face a tough time. I fully believe that she was responsible for the failure of Bill Clinton's presidency during the first two years. After Bill was elected, he appointed a politically correct but ineffective cabinet; Al Gore was the only one who knew what he was doing. After the Democrats' crushing defeat in the 1994 elections, Bill moved away from his wife's camp and toward the Al Gore camp, and for his remaining 6 years he had an incredibly effective presidency.

    She panders to the ultra-liberal "base" who support turning the US into the Union of Socialist States of America. She voted for the Iraq police-action/"regime change"/invasion/occupation/whatever. And her reason for voting for entering Iraq is that she was "misled" by President Bush. (How many times has she implied that Bush is an idiot or doesn't know what he's talking about? Enough that if I was her, I would not claim someone I consider an idiot duped me.) That's the "real" Hillary. In that case, I guess straw men do really wish they had brains...

    July 27, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. Ed, Belleville IL

    In the words of the immortal bard; surely tis much ado about nothing.

    July 27, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. Lydia, Frisco and Texas

    I think Hilary's characterization of Obama's comments as "silly" shows some condescension that is reminiscent of that of Bush senior when refering to Clinton/Gore in 1991 as those bozos. It did not work for Bush senior and it is unlikely to work for her. I believe she is resorting to republican tactics by trying to reduce a very serious issue to oneliners or slogans. This does not allow for serious public debate.

    July 27, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Rob, Roselle NJ

    Honestly, who the heck cares! There is not one good candidate in the bunch – all of them want to talk about how this doesn't work and that doesn't work while not really offering much in terms of true concrete solutions. At the end of the day this is a woman making a "sexist" comment with the politician twisting it to her advantage.

    July 27, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Frankie, Dallas, Texas

    Why not? It seems to me that everyone is using whatever assets they can leverage for political advantage. Let Hillary use hers, as long as it's not cheap 🙂

    I vote it's OK. Make your voice heard on: http://youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=244

    July 27, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
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