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Is America Ready For A Woman In The White House?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
In 2008 Hillary Clinton was the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States before a surge by her challenger Barack Obama dropped her to second place in the Democratic race for the White House.
Many of her supporters were disappointed as their hopes to put the first woman president in the Oval Office faded away.
Clinton, the wife of former president, Bill Clinton, had made a great showing and appeared to be a lock to be the Democratic nominee. In fact Republican Party heads were preparing a campaign to run against her when they suddenly had to change plans and shift their attention to the lesser known Barack Obama.
Disappointed but faithful to her party Hillary threw her support behind Obama and eventually became his Secretary of State when he won the Presidential Election of 2008 but the question that still remained on everyone's mind was "Is America ready for a woman president?"
Democratic Presidential Candidates in 2008
History Times Two
When Hillary Clinton decided to run for president in 2008 it was a defining moment. Although other women like Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan had run for the office, Hillary Clinton was seen as someone who had a good chance of actually winning.
Being a sitting senator and the wife of a former president, in the minds of many Americans, put her in a unique position to be qualified to occupy the office.
Even though she did not have any direct involvement in the official affairs of the White House as First Lady she certainly was privy to information not available to the average presidential candidate.
Because she was not the first woman to run for the office her move was not considered bold but it was seen as groundbreaking because she had a legitimate chance to win.
Although Barack Obama was not initially believed to be a strong candidate because of his limited national political experience, he gradually picked up momentum until he found himself head-to-head with the only female opponent in the race which made for an interesting possible outcome in that the first African American or woman could be the next president of the United Sates.
Hillary Clinton debating Barack Obama in 2008
And Then There Were Two
Almost from the outset Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama looked to be the clear frontrunners. Although the other Democratic candidates put up a spirited fight Clinton and Obama were the obvious top candidates and wound up debating each other for the right to represent the Democratic Party in the 2008 Presidential Election.
And debate they did.
Once the field was settled and the two final candidates selected Clinton and Obama engaged in some of the most classic and contested debates reminiscent of Lincoln/Douglas and Nixon/Kennedy.
From domestic to foreign issues they exchanged barbs and quips while trying to illuminate policy differences between the two of them. When all was said and done most political experts said that there was little difference between the candidates policy stances which meant popularity and whether Democrats wanted a man or a woman representing them would likely be the deciding factor.
Although the candidates and their supporters disagreed with that assessment Democrats nonetheless found themselves left with what basically turned out to be a decision whether to position a woman or an African American to be the first of either to be president of the United States.
In the end they chose Obama.
Announcement Of Hillary Clinton As Secretary of State
The Next Phase
One of the first things Barack Obama did as President-Elect was to select Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Although many Clinton supporters wanted him to select her as his vice presidential running mate Obama instead tabbed her as his choice to represent America abroad.
When he was chosen as the Democratic nominee it was questioned whether Obama would include Clinton in his cabinet at all and if he did whether she would accept a position. Because they had engaged in what became spirited and at times almost bitter debates many were skeptical about their chances of mending fences in order to work together.
But they did.
As America's state representative Clinton went about the task of rebuilding the nation's reputation and relationships around the world. During the previous administration many ties with allies and enemies had been strained and there was much work to do in order to restore amicable working relationships with them.
With limited policy decision making power Hillary did an admirable job reshaping America's standing with other nations bringing a new and welcome policy of diplomacy over military force. As a result of her tireless work the United States' ties with allies were strengthened and bridges to traditional foes were built.
When all was said and done Clinton had visited 112 countries and logged nearly one million travel miles.
Except for the tragedy in Benghazi which still haunts her, Clinton's state department track record though not exceptional, is noteworthy.
Hillary Clinton On Her Current Book Tour
Back To The Future
Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State for four years stepping down in 2013 and almost immediately rumors began to circulate about her running for president in 2016.
Clinton in typical political fashion avoided giving a clear rebuff to the speculations but as time passes political analysts and ordinary citizens alike feel she will run again in 2016.
Hillary Clinton has yet to announce any plans to make herself available to be a candidate in the next presidential campaign opting instead to go on a book tour promoting her latest book titled "Hard Choices", a memoir of sorts chronicling her time as Secretary of State.
Being that it is already 2014 the time is drawing near for her to decide if she will become a candidate or remain a private citizen.
Whether she will decide to run or not remains to be seen but if she does or if she doesn't the question still lingers "Is America ready for a woman president?"
We will see and Hillary Clinton will have a lot to do with the answer.