Des Moines Register 10-25-07 Clinton exhorts women to aim high, speak out

Des Moines Register
Clinton exhorts women to aim high, speak out
Ames, Ia. - Hillary Clinton defended her choice to accept campaign money from
lobbyists and political action committees, answering a question Wednesday from
a college student who apologized for "coming across as negative."
"Don't worry, I've been asked nearly everything," Clinton told the student,
Chenru Zheng, after a speech on women in politics at Iowa State University.
Clinton then said she has taken on "more special interests more directly than
probably anyone else running," including the health insurance industry, the drug
industry and big oil.
"It's artificial for someone to say that they don't take money from lobbyists or
PACs, but take up money from the individuals who employ the lobbyists and set
up the PACs," said Clinton, a U.S. senator from New York.
Clinton delivered the Mary Louise Smith Chair Lecture at the Carrie
Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics in Ames. She used the forum,
attended by about 1,500 people, to applaud trailblazing women as well as to spell
out pieces of her own political agenda and to encourage women to vote.
"We must truly use the power of the vote to make our voices heard, to take our
leaders to task to build the kind of country we want for our children and
grandchildren," said Clinton, who read her speech in a soft-spoken voice.
In 2004, more than 35 million women didn't vote, she said.
"Today, too many women silence themselves," she said.
Clinton took a jab at her uniform of choice, saying that in the mid-1980s, women
weren't allowed to wear pantsuits on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
"Clearly, I would not have survived back then," she said, laughing.
Later Clinton was serious when she said: "Too often our politics is about
distractions, who's up or who's down, what people are wearing more than what
they're saying. Well, there will always be that kind of analysis, but in the end
none of that really matters very much."
She used that as segue to her stump speech about people who feel "invisible" as
they struggle to get by.
"They're certainly not invisible to me," Clinton said. "I carry their stories with me
wherever I go."
And Clinton repeated an anecdote that's become a big applause line at her
recent campaign events:
"I've met a lot of women in their 90s who tell me they were born before women
could vote and they want to live long enough to see a woman in the White
House. And I love it when I hear mothers and fathers whispering to their little
girls, 'See, honey, in this country you can be whatever you want to be.' Well,
that's what I believe about our sons and our daughters."
She again encouraged Iowans to exercise their constitutional rights.
"We have to keep faith with the work, the struggle and the sacrifice of those who
have come before," Clinton said. "We have to be reminded from time to time that
freedom isn't free and equality cannot be taken for granted."
Reporter Jennifer Janeczko Jacobs can be reached at (515) 284-8127 or
[email protected]