IS CLINTON PLAYING THE GENDER CARD?

Like GFR, I've been hearing a lot about how Hillary Clinton is playing the gender card. The campaigns are pissed. The media is incredulous. Last night on Hardball, my segment, which generally has three topics, was solely devoted to this question. They're getting Obama to comment on it.

But is it, uh, true?

Clinton, speaking to her alma mater, said, "In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics." That's the only invocation of gender since the debate. And to me, it sounds like nothing more interesting than alumni puffery. She didn't say the "boys" were beating up on her for being a woman. She didn't say the questions were unfair or the attacks sexist. She just said that her alma mater helped prepare her to enter this world. That's not making this about gender. It's mentioning gender, and pumping up her college.

And as far as calling the election an "all-boys club" goes, that seems unambiguously true. In a nation that's more than 50 percent female, where women made up 54 percent of the electorate in 2004, exactly one out of the 17 candidates currently vying for the presidency is female. But what we're upset about is that Hillary Clinton mentioned that fact? The men doth protest too much, methinks...

But Ill open this one up: Do you guys think Clinton is making this about gender, and I'm giving her comments too sympathetic a read? Or has the press been aching to make this a race again, and so are now in a feeding frenzy mode, and are making everything from complicated answers about immigration to straight descriptions of gender realities a huge issue?

--Ezra Klein

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