By Sam Youngman
As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) continues to weather the
insults and protests of anti-war groups, she offered terse words for
President Bush Wednesday, telling him not to veto the deadline for
withdrawal from Iraq the Senate passed Tuesday.
Clinton said if Bush vetoed such legislation passed by both the House
and Senate, he would “be willing to veto the will of the American
“I challenge him to withdraw his veto threat,” Clinton said.
The Senate narrowly passed the Iraq emergency supplemental funding bill
late Tuesday, which included language that sets a 120-day window to
begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Clinton joined every other
Democrat in voting for the measure, which passed 50-48, but Bush has
vowed to veto it, saying that the Democrat-led Congress is undermining
the troops and the tactical decisions of military commanders.
Clinton issued her challenge to Bush at the historic Sewell-Belmont
House in Washington as she accepted the National Organization for
Women’s (NOW) endorsement of her presidential campaign.
entered the building from the side, Clinton was yet again met by the
anti-war group Code Pink, whose members were chanting, waving signs and
warning, “NOW is backing a war candidate.”
The senator politely waved as she made her way inside but didn’t stop to engage the protesters.
Code Pink protesters provided The Hill with a release of their own
endorsement: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Rice and Clinton are
the war princesses of a political machine that does nothing to protect
women in this country or abroad; Rice orchestrated the Iraq war for the
Bush administration, and Clinton continues to relentlessly back her own
support for it,” the release read. “Being female is no cover to their
Clinton told representatives from NOW that standing with her means ending the war “the right way.”
The senator joined the rest of the Democratic field in addressing the
AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department Wednesday
morning, where the contestants, buoyed by Tuesday’s surprise passage of
the Senate’s Iraq measure, all spoke about the need to end the war.
After the NOW event, Clinton was asked if she thinks some of Bush’s key
aides should testify under oath about the controversy surrounding
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and the firing of eight U.S.
She said it would be “appropriate” that they would
testify, but she stopped short of endorsing a curtailment of the use of
NOW joined EMILY’s List in endorsing
Clinton as the leading campaigns insist that the women’s vote will be a
crucial bloc in both the hunt for the nomination and the general
Clinton told the group of women and girls, many of
whom were waving signs that read “Hillary — I’m Ready,” that accepting
the endorsement was an “emotional experience.”
“Making change means taking a chance,” Clinton told the cheering group.
With more than 500,000 “contributing members,” the NOW political action
committee (PAC) endorsement could translate into early organizational
and financial success for the senator.
Kim Gandy, the PAC’s
chairwoman, said in her remarks that the group would provide training,
tools and resources for members, so they can convince voters “to say,
‘I’m ready for a woman president. I’m ready for this woman president.’”
Gandy said the Clinton campaign represents “a dream realized and a new
dawn for all who share the dream of equality and justice.”
Clinton campaign also announced Wednesday the endorsement of tennis
legend Billie Jean King, who in the famed “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973
beat formerly No. 1-ranked Bobby Riggs.
King called Clinton “a
winner who has the vision, the drive and the knowledge to lead this
country,” according to a campaign release.
“a day of outreach to women voters,” the campaign issued an e-mail from
Geraldine Ferraro, former vice presidential candidate, asking
supporters to donate money to her campaign so that she might “finish
the first fundraising quarter strong.”
The campaign referred
to women voters as “the X-factor in this election,” speculating that
women could account for as much as 54 percent of all voters.