Hillary, Inc.

The women campaign staffers behind Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign are a tight-knit group that’s ready for anything.

By Ann Gerhart
Moore graduated from a vocational high school, then worked full-time to put herself through college before becoming an organizer for Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH.Moore was aggressively recruited by the other 2008 Democratic candidates and met personally with most of them, along with a handful of black women whom she describes as "influencers, if you will, who could influence how a person was seen in various communities, particularly the African-American community." She has been lining up the endorsements of powerful African-Americans like Representative John Lewis, the legendary Georgia Democrat and civil rights hero, and she smiles when I point out that almost all the female members of the Congressional Black Caucus have put their support behind the female presidential candidate."I certainly have a lot of friends," Moore says, then hastens to share credit with a young aide who does congressional outreach. "And I am not ashamed of calling these friends in the midnight hour and asking, ‘Will you be with us? What do we need to do?’"Ann Lewis is in charge of securing the most important vote of all: the women’s vote. She is the one who orchestrates the weekly talking-points memo aimed at women. "I started to read some things from the commercial world, and they talk about word-of-mouth marketing and one-to-one communication," she explains. Women, Lewis says, "want to hear from somebody they know. If we can get women to talk to one another about this campaign and why it is so important, that is a very powerful segment." Hence the Hillgrams, and Nurses for Hillary, Lawyers for Hillary, Businesswomen for Hillary….Hillary’s support has been strongest among blue-collar women, the shift workers and support staffers she often calls "invisible Americans." Many within Hillary Inc.‘s leadership came up through the ranks and have moved into that elite class of well-educated, well-off women, the very ones who have been most skeptical of Hillary’s bid. I start to ask Lewis about this."What do you do about the problem of the college-educated, affluent — "She interrupts. "I think it’s getting better all the time," she insists. "They take longer, that’s all." The problem, she says, has been overstated. "The group you are now talking about…they say, ‘You can’t take me for granted. I know how hard I have worked to be accepted; I’m not going to immediately support some candidate who could then let me down…I want you to earn my support.’ And the support is growing." In fact, Gallup’s numbers from summer onward show a 15 percent increase in college-educated Democratic women pledging their allegiance to Clinton.But polls aren’t votes, so the campaign misses no opportunity to reinforce that sisterhood appeal.When Washington Post style columnist Robin Givhan wrote about the image conveyed by a glimpse of Hillary’s cleavage during a speech on the Senate floor, Lewis seized on it as a fund-raising opportunity, penning a letter urging donors to "take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness in American culture.""Fashion, hair…I understand that," says Lewis, sitting in her office and wearing, it must be noted, a form-fitting jersey T-shirt herself. "Body parts? I draw the line, that’s all. It’s pretty simple." And, she adds, she spoke up only after outraged e-mails from supporters began pouring in.Reinventing the Campaign"There is no blueprint on how you elect a woman," Moore says. "So you retool." She, Lewis, and Solis Doyle will all tell you they’re reinventing the very culture of a presidential campaign from the ground up — and that the change has started in their own house. Solis Doyle boasts about reassuring Mike Henry, 39, the deputy campaign manager and a newcomer to Hillaryland, that, yes, he’d be able to take time off for his daughters’ parent-teacher conferences. Moore throws her head back, laughing, and says, "I’m like, ‘Buddy! Who are ya talkin’ to?’ We totally understand that" — half-day Halloweens notwithstanding.

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