Rocky Mountain News


Ex-Rep.: Hillary's tears accepted

Pat Schroeder stumping for Jared Polis

Published January 19, 2008 at 12:30 a.m.

Schroeder says women have made a breakthrough.

Schroeder says women have made a breakthrough.

Former Denver Congresswoman Pat Schroeder's been out of office for years, but her name resurfaced this month after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton became emotional on the campaign trail.

Crying is a no-no for female politicians, as Schroeder found out when she became teary in 1988 while announcing she wouldn't run for president.

But crying is different for male politicians, Schroeder said during a breakfast Friday for congressional candidate Jared Polis.

"Men have been getting points for it," she said, to laughter. "They're sensitive, and we're emotional."

After Clinton welled up, pundits recalled Schroeder's breakdown and wondered whether Clinton was finished. Instead, she won the New Hampshire primary.

"Finally, we made a breakthrough," Schroeder said.

Schroeder, who served in Congress from 1973 to 1996, was the keynote speaker at a Women for Polis event.

Friday afternoon Schroeder and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, hosted a round-table at Common Grounds in north Denver to try to woo uncommitted women voters to support Clinton.

While in Congress, Schroeder was known for a biting wit aimed mostly at Republicans. She hasn't changed much. Schroeder got big laughs at the breakfast when she zinged the GOP presidential candidates and President Bush.

"I don't know if you watched the Republican debate, but when they asked how many didn't believe in evolution three raised their hands," she said. "When they dropped their hands, their knuckles dropped to the ground."

Schroeder said she can't believe the GOP candidates dare to talk about family values, considering how many have been divorced.

"I guess they have multiple family values," said Schroeder, who still is married to her first husband, Jim.

She said that Bush has "blown it for the white males," setting the stage for gays, blacks, Hispanics and women.

"It's our turn," she said. "We couldn't mess it up anymore."

Schroeder praised Polis, who served as her congressional page when he was 16.

"This is one tremendous human being and there has never been a time when we need brainpower in Washington more," Schroeder said.

Polis, an entrepreneur and former state school board member, is vying for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. He faces former state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald and conservationist Will Shafroth.

The seat is open as U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs is running for the U.S. Senate.

The 2nd District is comprised of most of Boulder County, portions of Jefferson, Weld and Adams counties and all of Gilpin, Clear Creek, Summit, Grand, Eagle and Broomfield counties. or 303-954-5327

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