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After a long wait, Hillary all set to script Democratic history

world Updated: Jun 08, 2016 10:34 IST

LOS ANGELES: Eight years after conceding she was unable to “shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” Hillary Clinton is embracing her place in history as she finally crashes through as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Throughout her surprisingly rocky primary campaign, Clinton has been cautious about emphasising her trailblazer status. But as she campaigned in California in recent days, the former secretary of state signalled she was ready to acknowledge her distinction as the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major US political party.

During a rally in Los Angeles on Monday night, Clinton said she was on the brink of a “historic, unprecedented moment,” while acknowledging there was still work to be done in six states voting on Tuesday.

It’s a remarkable moment for a candidate who’ s spent much of her life at the centre of a heated national conversation about the role of women. From stridently defending her own career, famously-saying in 1992 that she never “stayed home and baked cookies ,” to a 2008 presidential bid that shied away from mentioning her gender, Clinton has addressed the issue of her historic role from nearly every angle.

Now, she’s trying something new: owning it. “Starting next Tuesday we’re on our way to breaking the highest and hardest glass ceiling,” Clinton said last week in Culver City, echoing the speech she made in 2008 when she conceded the Democratic primary to Barack Obama. Her supporters are already there: At events in California, they chanted “deal me in” when she joked about “playing the woman card.”

“Having a woman president will make a great statement, a historic statement about what kind of country we are, about what we stand for,” Clinton told reporters at a community centre in Compton on Monday .“It’ s really emotional and I am someone who has been very touched and really encouraged by this extraordinary conviction people have.”

Campaign aides say Clinton is mindful of the significance, especially when she thinks about her mother, Dorothy Rod ham, who was born before women had the right to vote. Rodham, who died in 2011, was in attendance at Clinton’ s concessions pee chin 2008 and Clinton has made her life story a focal point of the campaign.

That’s a reversal from her first presidential bid. In 2008, Clinton believed she needed to project an image of strength to persuade voters she could be the first woman to serve as commander-in-chief — a “kind of tough single parent” rather than a “first mama,” as Mark Penn, her chief strategist at the time, described it.

Aide sand allies believe that her previous presidential run helped normalise the idea of a woman in the country’s highest position,

This year, Clinton wants to focus on how her groundbreaking achievement is symbolic of the kind of change she wants to effect as president, aides say. “Breaking down barriers” has been one of her campaign slogans, as she pledges to improve access to education, jobs and opportunity.

After a challenging primary against Bernie Sanders’ ins urgent campaign, Clinton feels confident about the contrast this message offers with likely Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has made disparaging comments about women.

First Published: Jun 08, 2016 10:34 IST