WASHINGTON – Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton called Tuesday for the majority of voters — women — to help her break the nation's highest glass ceiling by electing her the first female president.
"Today, women are a majority of the voters, a majority of students in college, and we are a growing presence in the Congress. But there are still far too few women in leadership positions," Clinton told a crowd of roughly 1,300 at a luncheon for EMILY's List, a national political committee that raises money for Democratic women candidates who favor abortion rights.
The group already supports Clinton's bid, but Clinton urged women to actively work for her as the favorite daughter in the 2008 campaign.
"I hope you'll join me on the campaign trail," she said. "When we throw open the doors of opportunity and break those glass ceilings, then we give everyone in America a chance to be all that he or she can be."
The senator from New York is part of a generation of women who broke the so-called "glass ceiling" of advancement for females in the workplace, but she said the current government should do more to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
She also chided the Bush administration for what she said was failing to fully track national data on gender disparities at work. Yet, in a sign that women voters have many of the same political concerns as men, Clinton received the biggest applause when she called for a national security policy that created more allies than enemies.
The luncheon was held in honor of the first female Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Clinton hopes to enlist the support of thousands of women through what her campaign is calling their "women's leadership network." The campaign is asking female supporters in the network to take active roles in supporting Clinton's candidacy by e-mailing other women, campaign adviser Ann Lewis said.
"Business leaders tell us the strongest form of marketing is advocacy by a trusted friend," Lewis said.
The campaign will also launch a new Web site next week aimed at younger women, www.icanbepresident.com, Lewis said. The site, which will link Clinton's main campaign Web site, will promote the notion that a woman can be elected president, Lewis said. EMILY's List has already endorsed Clinton.
Public opinion polls and Clinton's own polling show she does well among women generally, and single and younger women in particular.
Clinton will also pick up the endorsement of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who also lent her name to an e-mail fundraising pitch for the New York senator last week, Lewis said.
Albright served in the administration of Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton.
In New Hampshire, Clinton also picked up the endorsement of state House Majority Leader Mary Jane Wallner, who said she likes the senator's priorities for families.