November 1st, 2007
05:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton: Wellesley prepared me for 'all boys' club

Watch Clinton speak at Wellesley Thursday.

(CNN) - Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton returned to her alma mater Tuesday, the all-women’s Wellesley College in Massachusetts, as her campaign suggested this week’s debate could help her with women voters.

Clinton seemed to allude to sharp attacks from Democratic rivals in Tuesday’s showdown, telling the enthusiastic crowd, “in so many ways, this all women’s college prepared me compete in the all boys’ club of presidential politics.”

The New York senator’s comment came as aides told The Washington Post the criticism directed against her could attract more women voters. The paper quoted one adviser as saying, ‘Ultimately, it was six guys against her, and she came off as one strong woman."

The campaign prepared a video showing a montage of rivals saying her name in the debate, labeling it the politics of piling on.

On Wednesday, as she was presented with boxing gloves while accepting the AFSCME endorsement in Washington, union president Gerald McEntee said, “Six guys against Hillary. I'd call that a fair fight."

Related video: Analysis: Clinton and the 'boys'

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    I'm not a Hillary supporter at this point, frankly I'm voting for Obama. However, Chris from Middletown has been spreading political spin about alleged ties between Hillary and Saul Alinsky. For the record, Hillary was neither a student nor a mentor of Alinsky. I've researched for weeks and I can't find credible (non-partisan) evidence stating that she espouses Alinsky’s views. Hell, I even read all 92 pages of her thesis (which is posted on the internet). Yes she did a thesis (written while she was a student at Wellesley College) on Alinsky and she met him three times. Let’s not forget, she wrote this thesis nearly 40 years ago in college.

    Chris, if you are reading this, I'm not being critical of you or your belief that something is amiss. I simply request that you cite your sources so that I can judge for myself.

    November 1, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. james, Minneapolis, MN

    It is quite unfair that the candidate that is running on being tough and being able to stand up to a right wing machine is basically trying to portrait honorbale men as sexists for taking her to task on some important issues. It isn't six men against one woman. It is six candidates stating the obvious about another candidate.

    She is making women appear to be weak and will alienate as many of them as she gains. She can say goodbye to the male vote, now that she is playing the victim. I think that this will continue to hurt her by milking this victim role.

    November 1, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Ken, San Diego, CA

    I've seen a lot of debates in my day, but I have never seen anything like I saw on Tuesday. Democrats candidates should - without a doubt - point out differences in policies and ideologies. Even "electibility" is fair game. But to continually attack another candidates integrity and character is unfathomable. This is what the Republicans do! I have never seen this done with such venom in a primary. Please, Edwards and Obama supporters, please don't say they "did not", because they did and the transcript verifies this. Whatever you think of Clinton, one thing is true: She's dedicated her entire adult life to one cause or another - over 35 years in the public sector. Whether she is ambitious or not (which they all are) is not the question. She's earned the right NOT to have her integrity or character assasinated - NOT by Democrats anyway.

    November 1, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Bob, Seattle, WA

    Perfectly Clintonian. While Senator Clinton invoked the name of 'Bush' so many times that I lost count in the recently concluded 'debate', she labels criticism of 'her' as the politics of 'piling on'. What would you call her 'piling on' on Bush? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. But alas, as the fact of 'issue' debating serves to increase her 'risk' of stubbing her toe as she is heading to the finish line, she 'diverts' attention from 'issue based politics' to MAN vs WOMAN. Again, perfectly deft sleight of hand Clintonesque.

    November 1, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    If Barack were the frontrunner and was justifiably questioned about his stances, and said something "prepared him to compete in the all non-black club of presidential politics", I can guarantee you that he would be torn apart. Hillary wants it both ways. She wants you to think of her as a tough woman, but when she is questioned, she will come back and say she was the poor woman attacked by all these men. Imagine all the excuses she would have if she were to become president. She would never take responsibility for anything. It would kind of remind you of a certain someone that currently resides in the White House.

    Also, my wife is a strong woman, and she thinks it is sick the way Hillary is trying to use being a woman to get sympathy votes. So Clinton team, I wouldn't count on that too much.

    November 1, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Six guys against one woman who cannot get even 50% of the vote and will lose a slam-dunk chance for a Democrat in the White House as well as several Congressional seats lost on her pant-suit-tails.

    November 1, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Ann Memphis, TN

    Clinton, “in so many ways, this all women’s college prepared me compete in the all boys’ club of presidential politics.”

    I recall the debate in Iowa on ABC in August where everyone including George Stepanopolis, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, and Hillary Clinton were criticizing Obama’s experience for the first half of the debate. I also recall Senator Clinton attacking Sen. Obama first on the CNN debate and a radio show calling him naive and inexperienced. Never once did he or his campaign say don’t attack me I am black. In fact, he handled the situation during the Iowa debate with humor by referencing the Iowa State fair bumper cars. He was graceful, dignified and most importantly he honestly answered the questions.

    For her to use her gender to deflect questions that needed to be asked of the candidates for the Leadership of the free world is a reflection for her campaign and just might be a reflection of the type of administration she may have if she were elected President. We’ve just had eight long years of an evasive, secretive, unquestioned and unchecked presidency that used the tragedy as 9/11 to justify there actions. Now she is using the fact that she is woman to do the same thing on the campaign trail. Her moments of evasiveness in the debate may have been our countries warning.

    I believe she was finally showing us who she really was and what we may be in store of if there is a Hillary Clinton presidency. Mrs. Clinton wants to President of our representative democracy but indirectly (by means of her campaign) insist she cannot be questioned or challenged because she is a woman. Mrs. Clinton cannot have it both ways.

    Finally, I have a question if she cannot handle the mild and justified criticism of the Democrats how will she handle the strong personal and policy attacks from the Republicans.

    November 1, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. RKA, IL

    Playing the gender card? How can the "inevitable" nominee be acting so desperately?

    November 1, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Norm Denver

    Hillary Clinton accused of illegal fundraising

    The complaint, filed by Matthew Margolis and Mark Noonan, cites stories published in the Los Angeles Times and New York Post questioning contributions to Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaigns from impoverished Chinese neighborhoods in New York City.

    The stories dovetailed with the Clinton campaign’s refunding more than $800,000 in donations solicited — or bundled — by Norman Hsu, who used his influence in Asian-American circles to help raise millions for Democrats, all while he was considered a fugitive from a 15-year old grand theft conviction.

    November 1, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. James Koteras - Thurmont, MD

    Get ready for 4 years of suckdom, America. History's first woman President of the United States will be an ineffective, poor leader, who will preside over an administration of futility and corruption.

    Every responsible Wellesley College student and alum should be ashamed of their school. Your frustration won't count in 2011 – take a stand now.

    November 1, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary needs to release those documents about her years as first lady now and not in 2012. If she doesn't do it now, in 2012 voters will remember to ask the same question.

    November 1, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Jesse, Burnsville, MN


    Trust and integrity are a big component of being a President, especially since we haven't had any trust or integrity in our President in years. Clinton giving vague answers and saying different things to different people does not espouse trust and integrity!

    By the way, Clinton is a Democrat In Name Only (DINO). I have been a Democrat my whole life, and she does not represent my values and beliefs. I am not pro-war, pro-lobbyist, and pro-corporate control of our government.

    With Clinton, the drumbeat to war in Iran will not even skip a beat!

    November 1, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    Hillary Clinton is awesome. She is fighting tooth and nail for the American middle class and the poor. She showed the world, last night at the debate, that she can take on any adversity. She is the leadership that we NEED. I hope that, after she sweeps through IOWA, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the other candidates come to their senses and join the winning team. If not then we can only conclude that the other candidates are aiding and abetting the right wing haters because none of the other candidates have put forth a plan for change the way Hillary has. You can’t deny this. The other candidates just need to leave Hillary alone and just let the leader lead. “They ain’t got nothing”. My girl is on fire. Let’s keep the fire burning hot.

    November 1, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Uzoma, New York City, NY

    She is laughable at this point.

    Its okay for her to criticize Bush, but not okay for any one else to criticize her?

    As an African American woman, I'm disgusted that she continues to play the victim card. No movement in our histrory succeeded by playing vicitims. You don't show strength this way Hillary. You just dont. And let's please note that Barack Obama is not running his campaign on the notion that he is a strong Black man trying to make it in this White dominated world. Because that's stupid. I'm so disgusted with her. I just don't know what to say. First you stay with a philanderer, engage in illegal activities, duck and dodge critical issues, and now you are playing the victim card. What about that reads strong woman?

    November 1, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Anon Tucson AZ

    Nice Hillary – blame all the criticism of your record and views as sexism, the "boys" against the "girl". You expect to be taken seriously – yet when others legitimately disagree with your views – you cry like a little schoolgirl saying how the boys bully you.

    We want strong leadership, not petty little princesses.

    November 1, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Walt, Belton, TX

    Now it is going to be six big, tough men against one "smart" woman?
    That's the latest ploy? I doubt seriously that Vince Foster would agree or any of the other discards she and Bill laid to rest by the side of the political road. Even disregarding the knee pads.

    November 1, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. RuthieM

    “in so many ways, this all women’s college prepared me compete in the all boys’ club of presidential politics.”

    Apparently it didn't prepare her to compete in the all boys' club because she came out crying like a baby and is still wimpering.

    November 1, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Wallace, Chicago IL

    "The politics of Piling On"?

    Give me a break!
    So if someone questions Hillary, it is a 'personal' attack, just like it is "unpatriotic" to question Bush and Cheney about Iraq.

    People wake and stop making excuses and hold these people accountable. CNN surely will not.

    This is for the presidency of the United States of America, not to see who uses the swing on the playground. They didn't personally attack her, they attacked her record.

    Why do people insist on hiring someone for a job, even when they refuse to show you their resume! Hillary has to tell us what she thinks. She never answers a question directly. All she gives us are "Bush-isms". Stop making excuses for her.

    Republicans did the same thing for Bush and regretted it later. Hold them accountable. Questioning someone running for the Presidency of the United States is fair game!

    George H.W. Bush – 4 years
    Bill Clinton – 8 years
    George W. Bush – 8 years
    Hillary? (I doubt it) – 8 years
    Jeb Bush (don't think he won't run) – 4 to 8 years

    Wake up people. I know you're emotional about Bill's presidency, but he is NOT Hillary. Make her answer questions. Don't give ANY of these candidates a free pass.


    November 1, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    She needs hard question thrown at her and she need to stop dodging the questions and answer honestly.

    What am I saying? A Clinton answer something honestly? I'd have better odds of an alien popping out from behind the file cabinet and saying, "Take me to your leader."

    November 1, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    Ken, San Diego, CA

    Please cite specific character and integrity attacks that you allude to in the debate. I watched the entire debate and I don't recall what you are refering to

    November 1, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. Steve, Portland, OR

    Yep, Hillary and her lobbiest friends don't need to criticize the other democratic contestants when she is ahead of them by a wide margin. All she has to do is continue expressing the problems with the current administration and say little about the subjects being brought up that worry people if she becomes president, like her dependance on more special interests that have absolutely destroyed the average Americans rights to representative government.

    November 1, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Len, Manchester, NH

    I counted eight guys against Hillary.
    Brian Williams and Tim Russert were right in the mix

    November 1, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Hillary Clinton = Cry Baby

    November 1, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. RMRN.Y.

    How desperate, how shallow, and really
    condescending to play the gender card...

    Oh, poor little Hillary up against all those big hairy men – come on poor little Hillary, you are in the big leagues now-
    Act like a grown up, already!

    My vote is for the smartest person in the room – Barak Obama!

    November 1, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Z, Eden Prairie MN

    So lets see if I get this straight Clinton sheep. It's wrong to attack a candidate personally, unless it's Hillary claiming saying the other candidates are sexists. That's pretty much what she's saying when she's talking talking about the 'all boys’ club'. Honestly, some one step up to the plate and tell me this isn't the most personal attack anyone has made. Are people really stupid enough to fall for this? I haven't heard Obama complain about the all white club. Why should Hillary get to place the sexist card.

    November 1, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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