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Monday, May 19, 2008

Gender Issue Lives On as Clinton’s Hopes Dim




With each passing day, it seems a little less likely that the next president of the United States will wear a skirt — or a cheerful, no-nonsense pantsuit.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is now in what most agree are the waning days of her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. To use her own phrase, she has been running “to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling” in American life, and now the presidency — even a nomination that once seemed to be hers to claim — seems out of reach.

Along with the usual post-mortems about strategy, message and money, Mrs. Clinton’s all-but-certain defeat brings with it a reckoning about what her run represents for women: a historic if incomplete triumph or a depressing reminder of why few pursue high office in the first place.

The answers have immediate political implications. If many of Mrs. Clinton’s legions of female supporters believe she was undone even in part by gender discrimination, how eagerly will they embrace Senator Barack Obama, the man who beat her

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