After last week’s debate debacle, Hillary Clinton’s campaign resorted to the tagline of “one strong woman” standing up to the “politics of pile-on”. Clinton ratcheted up the gender rhetoric when returning to her alma mater, Wellesley College, to address the all-girls school. The senator said the college “prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics.” New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had a witty take on the matter, sarcastically saying:
She should certainly be allowed to play the gender card two ways, or even triangulate it. As her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, said after the debate, she is “one strong woman,” who has dwarfed male rivals and shown she’s tough enough to deal with terrorism and play on the world stage. But she can break, just like a little girl, when male chauvinists are rude enough to catch her red-handed being slippery and opportunistic.
After (finally) being challenged on the national stage, Clinton’s strategy of playing the victim comes off as childish. Barack Obama said in response, “When we had a debate back in Iowa awhile back, we spent I think the first 15 minutes of the debate hitting me on various foreign policy issues. And I didn’t come out and say: ‘Look, I’m being hit on because I look different from the rest of the folks on the stage’.”
He continues, “So it doesn’t make sense for her, after having run that way for eight months, the first time that people start challenging her point of view, that suddenly she backs off and says: ‘Don’t pick on me’.”