Joni Ernst reminds Hillary that "it's not enough to just be a woman"

I was watching some of the Iowa interviews coming out of Senator Joni Ernst’s event on CNN this morning where several presidential hopefuls were strutting their stuff for primary voters. None of them really jumped out at me, but the interview by Dana Bash with the senator herself was definitely worth the price of admission. The reason dates back to last October when Hillary Clinton decided to dip a toe into the Iowa senate race in support of Democrat candidate Bruce Braley. The subject wasn’t anything to do with the issues of the day, but yet another ride on the political gender horse. We mentioned it here in a headlines hit.


“I would also add, it’s not enough to be a woman. You have to be committed to expand rights and opportunities for all women,” Hillary Clinton said at a Wednesday campaign event for Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Bruce Braley, Joni Ernst’s opponent in Iowa.

My my… Tough talk from one woman to another, eh? Well, as we all know by now, Ernst went on to win the election and is now a quickly ascending power player in GOP politics. The shoe is on the other foot in 2015 and it’s Hillary who is looking at yet another election run, and she’ll need some support in Iowa. What a great time for the CNN correspondent to ask Joni to weigh in on Hillary’s prospects.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) took a jab at Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, repeating a comment Clinton had made about Ernst while campaigning for the senator’s opponent last fall.

Clinton had criticized Ernst’s record on women’s issues in a stump speech for Democrat Bruce Braley in the 2014 midterm election: “It’s not enough to be a woman. You have to be committed to expand rights and opportunities for women.”

Ernst repeated Clinton’s comment in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, saying Clinton’s gender mattered less to Iowans than her record on women’s issues.

“I would say Hillary, it’s not enough to be a woman. You have to care about women’s issues,” Ernst said, listing strong economy, “great educational system” and strong national defense as women’s issues in Iowa.

“You have to be a leader with a vision, and you have to show Iowans that you want it … and not just a woman,” Ernst said on CNN.



Hillary Clinton seems to run into trouble whenever she goes head to head with another female. (See: Fiorina, Carly) We’ve reviewed Clinton’s dubious list of accomplishments numerous times here, but they’re at least easy to summarize. She was married to someone who became a governor and president. She served less than two terms in the Senate where she authored no legislation of note. She was awarded a position as Secretary of State – essentially as a runner up prize from the presidential primary – and set records for frequent flyer miles.

Joni Ernst is a war veteran with 21 years of service, including tours in Kuwait and Iraq. She was a leader in combat zones as well as the civilian arena. She continued her public service in government by starting at home and winning election to the state senate on her own merits, not just because of her husband’s name. She is the first female veteran from any state to serve in the United States Senate. And with every month that goes by she looks more and more like one of the up and coming leaders in her party.

And she did it all on her own and without asking anyone to pull out her chair because “a woman should have this office.”

Hillary Clinton wasn’t even involved in the Iowa rally where this all took place, yet she somehow managed to come out the biggest loser of the week. But at least she and Joni Ernst can agree that you have to do a lot more than simply be born with ovaries.


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David Strom 6:00 PM | February 27, 2024