Students React to Female Candidate

By Esperanza Juarez

“I’m in and I’m in to win.”

With seven small words New York Senator and former First Lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she is officially in the race
to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate and
possible presidential elect for the 2008 elections.

The announcement was delivered via a Web video on Clinton’s
campaign Web site. While there had been some buzz about Clinton and
the presidential race for some time now, many people were surprised
that the statement came on a Saturday when most political based
news is non-existent or at a standstill.

The news came three days prior to President Bush’s State of the
Union speech and four days after Clinton’s fellow Democratic
competitor Barack Obama had announced that he would be forming a
presidential exploratory committee.

In a Rasmussen Reports poll of potential voters Clinton is ahead
of Obama by 7 percent. The race is much tighter, however, when
voters were asked to choose between Clinton and the top Republican
candidates.

As word spread from the weekend news circuit to the American
public, both supporters and naysayers voiced their opinions.

“If she wins, she has the potential to counter the negative
image the U.S. has in the world right now,” said Renford Reese, a
political science associate professor. “Instead of embracing a
cowboy diplomacy, she can embrace a more inclusive diplomacy that
respects the perspectives and values of the global community.”

Not all potential voters are as welcoming to the idea of a
female commander-in-chief.

“I’m more conservative so I’d still prefer a man president,”
said Harry Choi, a fourth-year civil engineering student. “For me,
I would rather follow a man than a woman. I don’t think that
[there’s] much difference in the ability of leadership. I think the
ability is the same, but for me I am more conservative. I’m quite
traditional.”

For others, the fact that a candidate is male or female, black
or white does not influence their feelings about a candidate and
their stance on important issues.

“I think [having a female candidate] will affect some people
[and they] will vote on that,” said Kristena Nelson, a fourth-year
English education student. “Personally, I want to vote for the best
person. Whether [the candidate is] a woman or someone of an ethnic
minority that’s not really a qualification for running the country.
It’s a lot more than that.”

In a recent three-part online video chat, Clinton addressed the
idea that the United States is not ready for a female
president.

“We won’t know until we try,” said Clinton. “Every time we’ve
broken any barriers, that’s always required people to take a bit of
a leap of faith (…) I’m doing this because I believe I would be
the best candidate and the best president. I’m not looking for
people to say ‘well I’m going to vote for her just because she’s a
woman,’ but I do think it’s important that we try to demonstrate
that women are fully capable of serving at the highest level in our
government.”

This presidential race has the ability to become more than just
a choice for the next president, it could set precedent for the
future.

Esperanza Juarez can be reached by e-mail at
news@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

Students React to Female Candidate

Students React to Female Candidate

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