When Ellen Malcolm, the founder of EMILY's List, announced Wednesday that she is stepping down as the group's president, she made clear that it was time for a new generation to take the reins of her Democratic fundraising powerhouse.
"I came of age in the 1960s and got involved in politics through the feminist movement," Malcolm, 62, told supporters in a note posted on the group's Web site. "My outlook and dedication to fighting for political parity for women was shaped by the fact that women were excluded, and by the unshakable belief that if we join together, women have the power to reshape our country."
Back in 2006, it wasn't until Dec. 11 -- and two recounts -- that Deborah Pryce, a Republican first elected to Congress from Columbus, Ohio, in 1992, was finally declared a winner in her re-election bid, fighting off a tough challenge from Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy. Pryce won by just 1,055 votes.
Ellen Malcolm was still recovering from Hillary Clinton's loss in the Democratic primary when she spoke to about 800 EMILY's List supporters at the group's annual luncheon in mid-June in a Washington hotel ballroom.
"I've been meandering my way through the various stages of grief: sadness, bargaining, anger, and my personal favorite, dessert," said Malcolm, the group's founder and one of Clinton's most steadfast supporters. She then asked the mostly female crowd -- for the sake of the country, and her waistline -- to join her in working to elect Barack Obama in November.
It's easy to measure how the tough fight leading up to Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary has taken its toll on the candidates: In the past month, both Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama have seen their negatives rise.
Young liberals looking for role models with the guts to stand up to conservative intimidation usually think of Russ Feingold or the late Paul Wellstone.
But, back before Feingold and Wellstone, there was Howard Metzenbaum, who died Wednesday at age 90. Metzenbaum was a relentless, in-your-face progressive, as I learned when I covered him in the early 1990s, near the end of the 19 years he spent representing Ohio in the U.S. Senate.
Metzenbaum was an advocate of a single-payer health-care system and a staunch defender of workers' rights, leading the fight for legislation that requires employers to give workers at least 60 days' notice before their plant closes.