Hillary Clinton hasn’t yet announced if she’ll make a third attempt at the White House in 2020, but she hasn’t definitively ruled it out yet either. And she simply refuses to exit stage left when it comes to the political scene.
While speaking at a pro-abortion event in New York City earlier this month, Hillary Clinton defended the “likability” of female political candidates — a clear reference to the recent debate about Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “likeability.” “I know many of you and can attest as to how smart, determined, effective, and dare I say, likable, you all are,” Clinton told a cheering audience, which included a number of elected women leaders.
The “likeability” factor
Clinton said, “You know, there’s been a lot of talk recently about whether our country is ready for women leaders.”
“Now, that really takes me back,” she continued, in an apparent reference to her own previous failed attempts at the presidency — failures which she has blamed, in part, on American voters’ supposed reluctance to elect women leaders.
“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,” she added.
Though she didn’t specifically mention her by name, Clinton was clearly referring to the recent media conversation about Warren’s”likeability” and unfavorable comparisons with her own “unlikeable” persona.
After Warren announced her 2020 intentions on New Year’s Eve, her “electability” immediately came under scrutiny. Politico questioned, “How does Warren avoid a Clinton redux — written off as too unlikable before her campaign gets off the ground?”
“Nevertheless, she persisted”
Clinton’s use of the word “persistence” also perked up few ears, as it appeared to be a direct reference to the infamous 2017 incident between Warren and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Warren was in the midst of delivering fiery criticism of then-Sen. Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing for attorney general. This sparked a verbal confrontation with McConnell, who cited a Senate rule against speaking ill of other senators to end her diatribe.
McConnell explained his decision at the time, saying, “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Warren’s supporters seized on the meme-worthy phrase, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” and transformed it into a rallying cry for the anti-Trump resistance. Soon, the phrase adorned all sorts of t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other campaign regalia.
Clinton’s choice of words could indicate that she’s considering throwing her support behind Warren’s 2020 campaign. Or it could simply be a sarcastic swipe at the critics she faced during her own previous campaigns.
Interestingly, Warren is one of only a handful of potential 2020 candidates who has met personally with Clinton to seek advice ahead of a presidential run.