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Soldiers may still be dying in Iraq and Congress may remain in gridlock but the talk of the town in Washington is still Hillary Clinton’s cleavage.
Clinton’s cleavage controversy continues unabated. Did she or didn’t she flash a little too much bosom in a July 18 campaign debate? Should anybody care? Is this really important?
Important enough to dominate talk shows and news coverage. Google News reports 186 stories about it over the weekend.
Some say how a potential President dresses is important. Others, however, say they don’t give a hoot about Hillary’s hooters.
In Washington, where professional women’s style statements are pointedly conservative, Hillary Clinton’s cleavage has suddenly burst into one of the hottest topics of the Democratic presidential race.
The normally very conservative dresser’s slightly low neckline during a July 18 campaign debate on education mostly went unremarked at first, until Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan took notice and branded it a “small acknowledgment of sexuality and femininity.”
“There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning Givhan wrote.
“It belonged to Senator Hillary Clinton.”
Clinton wore “a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance,” she wrote.
“There wasn’t an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable … It was startling to see that small acknowledgment of sexuality and femininity peeking out of the conservative — aesthetically speaking — environment of Congress.”
The focus on Clinton’s bosom rather than her national security policy drew an explosion of “thousands of angry letters and calls” from readers, mostly women, the newspaper’s ombudsman later wrote.
Many took issue with the idea that the Post devoted so much room to a non-political aspect of a tense national political battle for the White House.
The Clinton campaign on Friday chimed in, hoping to turn the controversy over Givhan’s article to advantage.
“Would you believe that The Washington Post wrote a 746-word article on Hillary’s cleavage?” Ann Lewis, a top campaign official, said in a fund-raising e-mail.
“Frankly, focusing on women’s bodies instead of their ideas is insulting. It’s insulting to every woman who has ever tried to be taken seriously in a business meeting,” Lewis wrote.
The Post ombudsman defended Givhan’s article.
“Does this have anything to do with whether Clinton should be president?” the ombudsman asked. “Not a thing. But do we want to read the column about her cleavage? Yes indeed.
“It was the most viewed story on the Web site all day. So was a recent story on (Democratic presidential hopeful) John Edwards’s hairdresser.”