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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 26th August 2016 > THE QUEENMAKERS

THE QUEENMAKERS

THE WOMEN OF HILLARY CLINTON’S INNER CIRCLE BELIEVE SHE’S THE IDEAL FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT, AND THEY’VE SPENT DECADES (AND MILLIONS) TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

THEY CAME FOR BILL BUT LEFT WITH HILLARY.

San Francisco philanthropist Susie Tompkins Buell says the first time she was in the same room with Hillary Clinton was at a Bay Area fundraiser for Bill Clinton, in the early 1990s. Hillary was there to deliver the introduction for her husband, and Buell was instantly smitten—but not by the candidate. “I remember thinking, She is going to run for president someday—it should be her,” Buell, the founder of Esprit clothing, recalls. “It wasn’t that I was turned off by him, I was just so attracted to her. I could feel her dedication.”

Philanthropist Swanee Hunt, who spends much of the money she inherited from her Texas oilfield magnate father, H.L. Hunt, a conservative, on progressive causes and candidates, has a similar memory. In October 1992, she organized a fundraiser in Denver called “Serious Women, Serious Issues and Serious Money,” aiming to raise a million dollars for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. Hillary was one of the key speakers. “I sat there in the audience listening to Hillary talking about the economy, and I thought, Holy Toledo, how can someone stand up there with no notes and sound like the head of the World Bank or Federal Reserve?” Later, Hillary called to thank Hunt for her contribution, Hunt recalls. “I said, ‘Oh, actually it isn’t for him, it’s for you.’”

GOING PLACES: Clockwise from top left, Clinton at a fundraiser with Esprit co-founder Susie Tompkins Buell;
PAUL SAKUMA/AP; RUDI BLAHA/AP;

Judith Hope, who was New York state Democratic chairwoman at the time, first realized Clinton’s potential at a Manhattan women’s leadership luncheon in 1996. “I looked at the women in the room, and I saw that she absolutely captivated them with her intelligence and her humor. She just had it altogether. And I thought to myself, This woman would make a terriffic candidate.”

Greeted in 1997 by U.S. Ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt, after the first lady flew to a “Vital Voices: Women in Democracy” conference,
PREVIOUS SPREAD: JOHN ANGELILLO/UPI/NEWSCOM
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Hilary's Clinton inner circle of women believe she is the ideal candidate to become the next American President and they are spending millions making it happen...
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