By ELOISE HARPER
March 28, 2007— - Two women's groups, traditionally friends and both
advocates of ending U.S. military presence in Iraq, find themselves at
odds over the endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.
The National Organization for Women -- arguably the Goliath of women's
groups at half a million members strong -- endorsed Clinton's White
House run Wednesday, pitting them against the anti-war group Code
Pink, which has long made Clinton a top target.
Powerful Women's Group Backs Clinton
Announcing NOW's endorsement, the former first lady said, "It's an
honor to be supported by these accomplished women," adding, "No one
has been more committed to equal rights and ending discrimination in
Kim Gandy, chairwoman of NOW, echoed, "Senator Clinton has a long
history of support for women's empowerment, and her public record is
testimony to her leadership on issues important to women in the U.S.
and around the globe."
Along with the endorsement, NOW will help raise funds for Clinton's
campaign through a Web site called Make History with Hillary.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who has endorsed Clinton, called the
senator a "winner" and someone "who has the vision, the drive and the
knowledge to lead this country."
Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro also got in the
action and called on women to help boost Clinton's fundraising as this
quarter's filing deadline looms on the horizon.
Clinton Given 'Pink Slip' Over Iraq
But not all women's groups are falling in line to endorse Clinton's
Code Pink, an anti-war women's group that shares NOW's goal of
withdrawing troops from Iraq, is determined to make Clinton pay for
her initial vote in favor of authorizing the war in the Senate and
what they view as a lack of anti-war leadership since.
"Our relationship with Senator Clinton goes back a while," said Code
Pink spokeswoman Gael Murphy, who met with Clinton at the onset of the
war in March 2003 to discuss President Bush's strategy.
"Hillary Clinton had bought into Bush's plan," said Murphy of that
meeting, which prompted Code Pink to hand Clinton its signature token
of dissatisfaction: a "pink slip."
Murphy admitted to evaluating Clinton differently.
"[We] push harder on her because she is a woman and [they] hold her to
a higher standard," said Murphy. "[Clinton is] one of the most
powerful politicians in the country and we have a responsibility."
On its Web site, Code Pink puts Clinton in the company of House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Bush for her stance on the war.
Nancy Kricorian, head of the group's New York Chapter, said she is
frustrated by Clinton's stance on Iraq -- a stance she views as
supportive -- and sees the biggest part of her job as educating people
on Clinton's stance.
Code Pink said it would cease and desist its anti-Hillary campaign if
the senator would submit a spending bill allowing only funds to bring
the troops home.
And, Murphy added, it would help if Clinton admitted the war was a
mistake, a tactical move the senator has refused so far to make.
Krokorian, who leads a Bird Dog Hillary Campaign along with her
chapter, described Clinton's recent announcement that she would leave
troops in Iraq as "a continuing occupation."
At a recent gathering of Democratic presidential contenders at the
Communications Workers of America legislative conference, Code Pink
quietly protested both Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. John
But when Clinton's turn to speak arrived, labor officials, fearful
that Code Pink would interrupt her, asked security to speak with the
protestors who broke into a peace chant of "Let them stay!" and "Go
Traditionally an ally of Code Pink, NOW refused to comment on Code
Pink's outward disapproval of Clinton and instead issued a statement
that read, "NOW has a 40 year history protesting against war and
military actions. And we are going to continue to call for peace,
diplomacy and political strategies to end this and to prevent all