‘The Woman From Park Ridge’
Published: June 15th, 2007
By: Steven and Cokie Roberts

‘The Woman From Park Ridge’

Coming soon to a Web site, campaign rally or TV interview near you: “The Woman From Park Ridge.”

Americans want a president who has suffered adversity and overcome hardship – or at least knows people who have. But what many voters know about Hillary Clinton is just the opposite: high-powered lawyer, wife of a president, U.S. senator, rich and privileged insider with unlimited ambition and uncertain ethics.

Her husband, Bill, faced a similar problem in 1992. His staff was appalled to discover that the public saw him as an elitist with glossy degrees from Georgetown, Yale and Oxford. That’s when he was rebaptized as “The Man From Hope,” the son of a single mom whose father was killed before he was born.

As a campaign narrative, “The Woman From Park Ridge” has the same purpose as “The Man From Hope”: to make the candidate more appealing and authentic, to send the message: I’m one of you, I understand your lives.

But Hillary has been in the national spotlight for 15 years; 2-in-5 Americans say they’ll never vote for her. It won’t be an easy sell.

As outlined on her Web site (and increasingly in public appearances), Hillary’s story stresses her parents’ modest origins. Her father, Hugh Rodham, “was the son of a factory worker in Scranton, Pa” (a key swing state).


The Evening Sun

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