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Hillary Clinton’s Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail

Regina G. Lawrence and Melody Rose
Hillary Clinton’s Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail
ISBN: 978-1-58826-670-5
ISBN: 978-1-58826-695-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-179-8
2009/277 pages/LC: 2009026973
"Lawrence and Rose enter new territory in this book.... With impressive results.... The book pairs an excellent primer on gender, politics, and media with a thoughtful reflection on the media challenges faced by Clinton as a political pioneer."—Sarah Sobieraj, Gender and Society

"A careful and balanced assessment of the role of gender in the primary campaign"—Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Presidential Studies Quarterly

"Regina Lawrence and Melody Rose's detailed account of Hillary Clinton's campaign ... skillfully uses gender as a lens through which to analyze the major developments of the race. The authors' deft organization and insights place many of the campaign's individual moments into a theoretical framework that illuminates the role of gender in the 2008 presidential election.... This book will probably become a benchmark model of research for scholars who examine women who seek the US presidency."—Richard L. Fox, Political Science Quarterly

"Lawrence and Rose offer a complex analysis of the many forces at work in a female candidate's campaign for office, not just those obstacles unique to women.... Instructors keen on fostering debates about media power should include this book as a text in courses related to women in politics, journalism, and American politics."—Angelia Wagner, Canadian Journal of Political Science

"Excellent.... Anyone interested in [US] politics, presidential campaigns, media politics, and the role of gender in American elections should devour this book. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"Masterful...As someone who covered the campaign up close, I can attest: Lawrence and Rose capture the paradoxes Clinton embodied, the traps she fell into, and the hurdles she overcame. They also place her within the context of women in politics in a way that will be endlessly valuable in the years to come.”—Anne E. Kornblut, Washington Post White House Correspondent

"An ambitious, insightful, and sophisticated look at how gender influenced Hillary Clinton’s nomination campaign. Lawrence and Rose’s work will appeal to anyone interested in women and politics in the US context.”—Kim Fridkin, Arizona State University

"Well written and accessible. Lawrence and Rose offer a fresh perspective on a historic campaign and, indeed, on women in US politics. It will be widely read."—Dianne Bystrom, Iowa State University


Senator Hillary Clinton won 18 million votes in 2008—nearly twice that of any presidential contender in recent history—yet she failed to secure the Democratic nomination.

In this compelling look at Clinton’s historic candidacy, Regina Lawrence and Melody Rose explore how she came so close to breaking the ultimate glass ceiling in US politics, why she fell short, and what her experience portends for future female candidates in the media-saturated game of presidential politics.

The result is more than just a postmortem of the Clinton campaign. Lawrence and Rose craft a sophisticated argument about the complex mix of gender stereotypes, media routines, and the particulars of individual character and electoral context that will shape the prospects of any woman who competes in the presidential arena.  


Regina G. Lawrence is associate dean of the School of Journalism and Communication and research director for the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon. Her publications include The Politics of Force: Media and the Construction of Police Brutality and When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina. Melody Rose is chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education.  She is author of Abortion: A Documentary and Reference Guide and Safe, Legal, and Unavailable?: Abortion Politics in the 21st Century.


  • Introduction: Gender, the Media, and Hillary Clinton.
  • Women and Presidential Politics.
  • The Media and the Path to the White House.
  • Hillary Clinton in Context.
  • Clinton’s Gender Strategy.
  • Quantity vs. Quality of Media Coverage.
  • A Gendered Game?
  • The Future Female Presidency.
  • Appendix: Democratic Party Rules in 2008.