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Leslie Milk’s Fundraising Speech Opening Remarks

Leslie Milk’s Fundraising Speech Opening Remarks

Thank you for coming, I was so sure no one would want to and I kept saying to Cathy Miller,
its OK if you cancel, we can blame it on Sandy. So, thank you so much for coming, particularly
since I must warn in advance that I am not going to be profound, I have no insights on
the election. I want to thank Columbia Lighthouse, Debbie Jarvis, and my good friend Beverly
Perry who skipped a day in Jamaica to come. Looking at this audience, I feel that I ought
to be out there and one of you ought to be up here because by Washington standards, I
am not now nor have I ever been a powerful woman. I have never played one on TV, but
I do remember my mother. I was on a program once with senator Barbara Mikulsky and I was
very very worried about it, and I’m telling my mother all about Senator Mikulsky’s incredible
accomplishments and my mother stops me and says, “Leslie, she’s not even married.” Anyway,
I have been writing about powerful women for more than 25 years for the Washingtonian,
I started in infancy. And about the way Washingtonians succeed, and I think I have had more fun than
many of my far more exaulted colleagues because they write about affairs of state and I write
about affairs of hair. And I can report that in at least one instance, the more things
change, the more they will remain the same. In 1992 one of the main issues of the presidential
campaign, if you count by the amount of inches in print, was the fact that Hillary Clinton
wore headbands. 20 years later, she is the Secretary of State, the headbands are off
but her hair remains a very important issue, and her clothes. In the 2008 election there
was an awful lot of space devoted to the fact that she had short hair and wore long pants.
Last spring she made major headlines again. You would think that because she was on a
trip to Asia, they would have been writing about the fact that she managed to avert a
full blown diplomatic crisis between America and China about a blind dissodent, and that
she pressed India to reduce oil imports from the rogue nation of Iran. And that she was
once again explaining that she was not planning to run for president, but those weren’t the
only issues that made Hillary headlines. Some of my colleagues, though I hesitate to call
them that, became absolutely obsessed by the fact that Hillary wore very little makeup,
she wore glasses, and she had unquaffed hair in Bangladesh. Hillary au-natural screamed
the drudge report headline, showing a photo of the Secretary wearing glasses, loose hair,
and only a little bit of lipstick. If the headline was supposed to be embarrasing to
the Secretary of State, they don’t know Clinton. At least not the woman she is today. I feel
so relieved to be at the stage in my life now where I can wear my glasses and I’m wearing
glasses she told CNN. If I want to pull hair back, I’m pulling my hair back, let the scrunchies
fall where they may. Now my mother would have said a little lipstick doesn’t hurt and we
all know you are smarter than Bill but you don’t have to let him know it. But thank God
my mother’s voice is louder only in my head and not in Hillary’s. As Washington women,
we have come a far way from when I first started writing about powerful women for the Washingtonian.
When we first did the list of the 100 most powerful women in Washington, it was hard
to come up with 100. Now we could name 100 just on Capitol Hill alone, including staff
directors of powerful committees, as well as senators and members of Congress. Another
100 occupy top positions in the administration. The publishers of the Washington Post and
my old Washingtonian are women, as well as the head of the Gannett company. In almost
every area of public, private, and non-profit life, there is a deep bench of smart savvy
women who could be considered the top of the 100 list. See I say deep bench because we
are allowed to use sports metaphors now, thankfully we don’t have to. I have never been a really
big fan of books purporting to tell women how to succeed by behaving against men. I
have nothing against men, I want to say I have been married to one for so long that
I refer to him as my current husband so people don’t think I lack imagination. I have a son,
I have three grandsons, all outstanding members of society. At least they will be, two of
them aren’t talking nor toilet trained yet. I assure you that once they are they will
be avid femanists.\par }

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