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Why we’re talking to the women in power in Washington

The thing I remember most from Bill Clinton’s 1993 inaugural is crashing the various balls around town.

Dressed up to look like we belonged, my husband, his cousin (in town visiting) and I posed as guests at these quadrennial gatherings, blustering our way into the MTV Rock and Roll Inaugural Ball in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

I recall seeing a lot of sequins as the new first couple arrived on stage to “their” campaign theme song: Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop [Thinking About Tomorrow].”

wenty-three years later, a lot has changed.

Hillary Clinton is the one running for president, and her campaign songs are all about girl power (Sara Bareilles’s “Brave,” and Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” for instance). If she wins, the White House would be for the first time run by someone who can give birth. That’s a big deal, especially in a town known best for its smoke-filled rooms and “old boys’ club” barriers.

Given the historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy, we here at PowerPost thought that now was a good time to talk to the other women who control the levers of power in the nation’s capital for a multi-month, multimedia project we’re calling “Women in Power.”

Bottom line: Women have come a long way since Hillary Clinton was first lady, and they now hold key positions on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in the lobbying and campaign worlds. But they still have further to go to be taken more seriously and claim more senior leadership positions in Congress and of course, the White House.

This month, we explore how women in Washington gain and consolidate power — through more than two dozen interviews with Washington women, Republicans and Democrats, lawmakers, lobbyists and fundraisers. We’ll write in future months about how women in the nation’s capital ensure their voices are heard, how they see themselves and are perceived, how they balance professional and personal demands, and how they campaign.

For this series, we sought to get the perspectives of the most powerful women in Washington.

Kelsey Snell interviews House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is aiming to reclaim the speaker’s gavel if Democrats retake the House in November (courtesy of Donald Trump). Pelosi told Kelsey she has raised a staggering half billion dollars for Democrats since assuming her leadership role, and explained her theory of power.

Elise Viebeck takes GOP women’s temperature on Trump and asks how they really feel about having so little representation in a Congress run by Republican men.



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