Hillary: America ready for a woman prez

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, standing outside an abandoned knitting mill that will become the new home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, said Thursday she hopes America is ready for its first woman president.

“It just depends on when and if that happens,” the former first lady said. “Stay tuned.”

Clinton continued to duck questions about whether she will run for the White House in 2008, saying yet again she is completely focused on her re-election this year.

But Clinton said that when it comes to a woman holding what she called “the toughest job in the world, some day it will happen.”

Clinton was on the campaign trail Thursday reaching out to women — a core group of supporters — in her front-running bid for a second Senate term, a race many see as a prelude to a run for president in two years.

Recent polls have shown Clinton far ahead of her rivals in the New York race, and with a distinct advantage among female voters.

A poll released last week by Quinnipiac University’s Polling Institute found the job approval rating for the state’s junior senator at 58 percent — 53 percent among male voters and 63 percent among women.

But even some women who support Clinton’s re-election this year aren’t certain she should run for the White House in 2008, in large part because she is a woman.

Valerie Brechko, an elementary school teacher from Penn Yan, said Wednesday during a Clinton campaign stop that while she is a strong Clinton supporter, she doesn’t want her to run in 2008 because she can’t win.

“I don’t feel that our country is willing or ready to vote a woman into that office,” Brechko said. “I hate to say it — I’m definitely a women’s libber — but they’re just not ready.”

Clinton faces a Sept. 12 primary against anti-Iraq war activist Jonathan Tasini. Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and Reagan-era Pentagon official Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland are vying for the Republican Senate nomination.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press