Obama Suggests Sexism Is Stopping Men From Supporting Clinton

“I want every man out there to kind of look inside yourself.”

John Minchillo/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


President Barack Obama posed a tough question to the men attending his speech in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday night: Is sexism stopping you from supporting Hillary Clinton for president?

It’s clear from his comments that the president believes that a suspicion of ambitious women is hampering Clinton. “You know, there’s a reason why we haven’t had a woman president before, and I think sometimes we’re kind of trying to get over the hump,” Obama said. “I want every man out there who’s voting to kind of look inside yourself and ask yourself: If you’re having problems with this stuff, how much of it is, you know, that we’re not just used to it?”

Obama continued, “When a guy’s ambitious and out in the public arena and working hard, well that’s okay. But when a woman suddenly does it, suddenly you’re all like, ‘Well, why’s she doing that?’ I’m just being honest. I want you to think about it because she is so much better qualified than the other guy. She has conducted herself so much better in public life than the other guy. This notion that somehow it’s hard to choose, it shouldn’t be.”

Clinton and her campaign have shied away from suggesting that people are voting against her because she’s a woman. But Obama appears to be making the case for her. In an interview on comedian Samantha Bee’s show Full Frontal earlier this week, he suggested that people would try to discredit Clinton, if she becomes president, with sexist tropes about women: “She’s tired. She’s moody. She’s being emotional.”

“When men are ambitious, it’s just taken for granted,” he told Bee. “‘Well, of course they should be ambitious.’ When women are ambitious: ‘Why?’ That theme, I think, will continue throughout her presidency, and it’s contributed to this notion that somehow she is hiding something.”

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate