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Veteran Dem Strategist: Gillibrand ‘Talks About Almost Nothing’ But Being a Woman

Shrum: Gillibrand 'has gone absolutely nowhere'

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
• July 29, 2019 1:30 pm

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Veteran Democratic strategist Bob Shrum ripped Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) for her intense focus on her gender in her presidential campaign, pointing out that approach had led "absolutely nowhere."

Shrum, who has advised four Democratic presidential campaigns, said in a glowing Vanity Fair article on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) that, unlike Gillibrand, Warren didn't feel the need to constantly point out she is a woman to primary voters.

"Warren is very smart because she is obviously a woman, but she doesn’t feel the need to talk about it all the time," Shrum said. "She doesn’t need to talk about it because it’s visual. You know she’s a woman! Gillibrand, who has gone absolutely nowhere, talks about almost nothing but the fact that she’s a woman."

The article's author, Peter Hamby, wrote Gillibrand's staffers "regularly blame criticism and bad press on sexist double standards."

Warren and Gillibrand are both prominent, liberal lawmakers representing blue states, but that's as far as the comparisons go regarding their 2020 presidential runs.

While Warren has won media accolades and polled in the upper tier of candidates with her constant drumbeat of policy proposals, Gillibrand's campaign has failed to generate any momentum since launching in January. Profiles of Gillibrand have largely focused on why she's struggling.

Gillibrand has tried to carve out a niche as the top choice for women voters in her campaign, placing emphasis on her support for abortion rights, paid family leave, and battling sexual assault. The New York Times called her campaign "unabashedly feminist." One of the signature colors of her campaign logo is pink.

In May, Gillibrand blamed low polling numbers on people being "generally biased against women." She slammed a town hall moderator for Mic last week for asking her questions about her call for former Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) to resign, calling it an example of a sexist double standard faced by female candidates.

While Gillibrand has made gender a cornerstone of her candidacy, she has also pushed liberal plans on such issues as climate change, gun control, and election reforms.