Important for the U.S. to elect a woman President? Hillary Clinton says: ‘The right female President, yes’
March 5th, 2014
08:04 PM ET
9 years ago

Important for the U.S. to elect a woman President? Hillary Clinton says: ‘The right female President, yes’

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton, whose every move now is seen through the prism of her possible presidential aspirations, was asked on Wednesday whether it was important for the United States to elect a female president.

Clinton responded quickly and bluntly: “Well, the right female President, yes.”

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Her comments came during a question-and-answer session at a UCLA lecture, during which she described the presidential nomination process as “grueling” with “pluses and minuses.”

The former secretary of state lead polls of potential Democratic presidential nominees, although she has not said whether she’ll mount a second White House campaign.

When political science Professor Lynn Vavreck asked about reforming the way the United States picks a President, the former secretary of state reflected on her experiences.

“We have this hybrid system that works for some people better than others, depending on your talents and the kind of attraction you can make and all the rest of it,” Clinton said. “It is a tough set of circumstances for whoever is willing to endure it. I think it is hard to know what works better.”

What was most-telling in Clinton’s comments was how she described the nomination process as a forum where someone with a certain set of talents and the ability to make a certain kind of attraction can thrive and win.

When Clinton ran in 2008, she was widely seen as the frontrunner for the nomination until then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama captured the attention of the Democratic base.

Obama used soaring oratory and likeability to catapult past the Clinton and win the nomination and eventually the presidency.

“For me, and this is a little bit ancient history, but I lost in Iowa, and people said, ‘Ok, it’s over.’ And then I win in New Hampshire, surprising a lot of people,” Clinton said detailing the nominating battle. “Then I lose in South Carolina. Then I win in Nevada.”

Obama’s ability to capture a crowd and relate to people is something even Clinton acknowledged while squaring off with Obama in 2008.

During a January debate in New Hampshire, Clinton admitted Obama “very likable.” Obama’s response – “You're likable enough, Hillary, no doubt about it” – has since become a defining moment of that campaign.

But questions about Clinton’s likeabilty have nagged the former first lady since her days as first lady of Arkansas.

When she ran for Senate in 2000, according to recently released documents from the Clinton Library, an aide encouraged her to “look for opportunities for humor” and stressed “it's important that people see more sides of you, and they often see you only in very stern situations.”

But a poll released this week showed Clinton is plenty likeable for Americans. According to the Pew Research/USA Today poll, only 36% of those surveyed said Clinton was hard to like.

At UCLA as part of a trip to the West Coast and Canada, Clinton was also asked to give advice to the 1,800 people – 400 of which were students – in the audience.

Clinton, regularly the target of biting criticism, told the crowd to learn from those who knocks you.

“Sometimes your critics can be your best friends, you really can learn from what people are saying,” Clinton said. “But don’t personalize it.”

She continued by adding a small nugget of more advice for women: “There still is a double standard. … And one of the most effective ways to go after a woman’s confidence and determination is around appearance. Believe me, been there, done that.”

To drive the point home, Clinton told a story about when she was working on voter registration in Texas during in 1972.

“I was going to a meeting … and I had to walk down a center aisle and make my pitch about registering voters,” Clinton said. “Literally, out of my right ear I hear, ‘I really hate that dress she is wearing.’ And out of my left year, I hear, ‘I like that dress she is wearing.’ That is the kind of almost schizophrenia you live in when you put yourself out there.”

And while despite some playful prodding by the moderator, Clinton didn’t announce she was running for President, she did acknowledge that it will happen for a woman in the future.

“I believe that it will happen,” Clinton said. “When it happens, how it happens, by who, we'll wait and see.”

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Exactly, it's not just any woman it's the right woman. Something the old senile thrice jet destroyer from AZ still doesn't get.

    March 5, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel


    Being politically correct has PROVEN bad for America........and we should not make that mistake AGAIN!

    March 5, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  3. Bill from GA

    That's as clear cut as it can get: Hillary won't be running!!

    She KNOWS that she is not the woman for the job.

    March 5, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Hello Madam President!

    March 5, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. Robert kraus

    loudmouth, know-it-all, egotist Clinton has spoken . . . . . not for me . . . not for our country . . . . . but for her own gratification

    robert kraus/akron

    March 5, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. Logictox

    OMG this is so sad to read. How can CNN promote this thing after all the damage she has already done to the world?

    March 5, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Hector Slagg

    Not anymore important than electing a man. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

    March 5, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. danicalifornia

    Please go away. You no longer have the respect of many Americans. You pawned off certain countries to other diplomats to handle so you didn't have to say or do anything to tarnish your image and so you could "pretend" to be the best SOS ever! Says who? You and the Clinton machine? You're the person at the workplace that gets all the special treatment while everyone is doing all the work. Go Away!!! You and your husband just serve your own narcissistic interests. Even Chelsea can't get a real job on her own.

    March 5, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. Smitty

    Well you aren't the right one. Ben Ghazi, what difference does it make MIA with a nervous breakdown, my fav the
    reset button, oops that didn't work. How can hilly run a country when she cant even keep slick Willies zipper up ????

    March 5, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  10. Hooper

    She's right again.

    March 5, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  11. BG

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation."

    I see that the Censoring News Network is still at it.

    March 5, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Tuff US

    Did Hillary have a stroke. She looks bad. Hey what about Benghazi?

    March 5, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  13. Bill

    In her election battle with Obama Hillary showed herself as tough, a real fighter. I like her for that and hope she takes it to the Republicans in 2016. I think it's time we had a female president, too.

    March 5, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |

    Hillary should go home and go on grandbaby watch .And it dont make no diff what gender or race! Thats the two thing the dims run on! Its so old to ! A black mans blood saved my dads life in 1950 . And my moma had me ! I owe them both my life and i love them both ! A dim will never make me look down on another man. thx

    March 5, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. ED1

    Please not another die hard extreme liberal that would continue to sell out this Country for Socialism.

    March 5, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. thomas vesely

    i believe that hillary clinton will bring to the job unexorcised demons and fury............

    March 5, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  17. Obama Approval Rating = 38% and falling fast

    Hillary Clinton says: ‘The right female President, yes’

    I couldn't agree more. And she is totally disqualified as she failed the leadership test the night the consulate was attacked in Benghazi. And even worse, she has lied and refused to answer for her actions or lack there of during the attack. Her bad judgement, dereliction of duty and lack of caring was a major contributory factor in the deaths of four American in Benghazi.

    March 5, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Hillary Clinton will smash the glass ceiling into a million pieces in 2016.

    March 5, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. Ted Ward

    Especially true now. We've just elected a black president simply because he was black, and now obviously he isn't "the right black president". So please, let's not elect Hill just because she's a woman.

    March 5, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    NO MORE CLINTONS ANY WHERE NEAR THE WHITE THE WHITEHOUSE. How many more American lives need to be sacrificed on the alter of clintionian politics before this nation finally exorcises and rids itself of this lot? They gave us Ruby Ridge, WACO, Oklahoma City., Mogadishu, 9/11, BENGHAZI.... Just how many of you mindless sychophants are willing to sacrifice YOUR family members to their continued incompetence, malfeasance and corruption? Is this really the best that the democrat party has to offer? WAKE UP and for GOD and this Nations sake DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.

    March 6, 2014 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  21. Enough is Enough

    Oh I can see it now....I had to vote for her....I made history with my, I never considered her actual qualifications.....but I made history!!

    March 6, 2014 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  22. Gurgyl

    Yes, on Hillary16

    March 6, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |