The Tip Sheet
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Contact: Caye Brundage Riley: (562) 907-4974
June 6, 2003
Hillary Clinton’s Living History: Memoir or Political Strategy?
Hillary Rodham Clinton is publishing her memoirs next week after years of stoic silence and in the midst of a successful career as U.S. Senator from New York. Why now? What does it mean in terms of the timing of the book’s release and Senator Clinton’s long-range political aspirations?
Carolyn Heldman, assistant professor of political science at Whittier College, says part of the answer is that Hillary Rodham Clinton has high political aspirations, and the release of her new book brings her one step closer to the presidency. “While Clinton is by far the most popular presidential pick among Democrats*,” Heldman says, “a majority of Americans do not think she should run**.
“To win a general election, she has to overcome a decade of criticism and win over voters who are uncomfortable with a woman running the country. Clinton subtly counters her critics with this new book by distancing herself from her husband’s presidency, painting herself as a more traditional woman (as she also sought to do in her 2000 book on the White House), and letting her human side show. No ‘shining star, Bill Clintonesque’ candidate has emerged in the Democratic primary race so far, but Hillary Clinton is poised to do this if her new book is as popular as her $8 million advance suggests it will be,” Heldman says.
Dr. Heldman’s research focuses on women in American politics and the media. She has written several journal articles, most recently, “Gender Differences in Print Media Coverage of Presidential Candidates: Elizabeth Dole’s Bid for the Republican Nomination,” (with Sue Carroll and Stephanie Olson), presented at the National Press
Club, Washington, D.C., November, 2000; “Gender Gap or Gender Gaps? New Perspectives on Support for Government Action and Politics,” (with Mark Schlesinger) in The Journal of Politics, and “The Effects of Negative Political Advertisements: A Meta-Analytic Assessment,” (with Richard Lau, Lee Sigelman, and Paul Babbit) for the American Political Science Review.
Dr. Heldman has worked as a book reviewer for the Associated Press, and as a public opinion pollster, policy advisor, and campaign manager. She holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 562-907-4200, ext. 4317.
** October 15, 2002 poll from The Marist Institute for Public Opinion: 69% think Hillary Clinton should not run.
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