‘Dare I say’

Hillary Clinton decries notion that women politicians must prove they are ‘likable’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on during an event to discuss reproductive rights at Barnard College, January 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Speaking at a reproductive rights event in Albany, New York, on Monday, Hillary Clinton issued a tongue-in-cheek rebuke to political analysts who have suggested that women politicians such as Elizabeth Warren must prove they are “likable” if they want to seek the presidency in 2020.

“There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether our country is ready for women leaders,” said the former First Lady, Secretary of State, and presidential candidate. “That really takes me back. Today, I want to thank all of you for your persistence. I know many of you and can attest as to how smart, determined, effective and dare I say, likable, you all are.”

Clinton herself has faced repeated questioning about her ‘likability’ throughout her own career — including from former President Barack Obama, who during the 2008 Democratic primary referred to her as “likable enough” during a public debate. In recent years, many Democrats have come forward to denounce the so-called “likability test” as sexist given that it seems to be applied almost exclusively to female politicians. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are all reportedly exploring running for the presidency in 2020.

In a statement, Clinton’s spokesperson, Nick Merrill, said that many women had approached Clinton to seek her advice and support for their own potential presidential runs. Clinton has already spoken formally with at least five potential presidential candidates so far — Warren and Harris among them.

“I won’t comment on private discussions she’s had except to say that she’s more than happy to talk to anyone considering a run about the challenges (as well as the great things) that go with it, and lessons learned on what to watch for in this next cycle (aside from Vladimir),” said Merrill.

Read the full story at NBC News.

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