The fifth annual POLITICO Women Rule Summit kicks off today with newsmakers including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Marco Rubio and top executives of Rolls-Royce North America, SoulCycle and the Tory Burch Foundation. The full agenda is here. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WomenRule.
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Rep. Cheri Bustos, of Illinois, who led Democratic recruitment in 2016, says women need to be convinced to run for elected office, citing the differences between how men and women approach campaigns.
“When recruiting men versus recruiting women, I can tell you, the first question a man will ask is, ‘can I win?’ That’s usually what you hear first,” Bustos said at the Women Rule Summit. “The first question you hear from a woman is, ‘how will this impact my family?’”
“I’ve never had a man ask me that question first,” Bustos added.
Bustos served as vice chairman of recruitment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2016 elections, where she was charged with convincing Democrats to run for office. She also runs candidate boot camp trainings for women called “Build the Bench.”
“It’s completely doable with a lot of convincing because most women have to be asked to run,” Bustos said.
This year might be different. EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion-rights group that helps elect women, said it’s received record requests — totaling 22,000 — from women for help running for public office up and down the ballot in 2018.
South Carolina state Rep. Phyllis Henderson, a Republican, also pointed to the need for women to support other women financially in their campaigns.
“We don’t have the networks that men do to tap into for money,” Henderson said. “One of the best things you can do is, if you’re not going to run, is to write a check for someone who is.”
— Elena Schneider
Bustos: Lawmakers accused of sexual harassment shouldn’t be in Congress
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) called on politicians accused of sexual harassment to leave Congress, while avoiding directly criticizing Democratic leadership.
During a POLITICO Women Rule panel, Bustos, a member of House Democratic leadership, addressed the news from earlier this morning of the retirement of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) after several women accused the longest-serving member of Congress of sexual misconduct.
“I think that if you are entrusted by the public, whether you are in the Senate or in the House, whether you’ve been in Congress for 40 years or for a year, we need to serve as role models,” Bustos said. “If you’re a perpetrator of sexual harassment, I don’t think Congress is the place [for you] to be — no matter what body you serve in and no matter what party you’re in.”
Even when asked directly, Bustos didn’t go after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who came under fire for her response to the Conyers allegations, triggering some Democrats to call for new leadership.
In an interview last month on “Meet the Press,” Pelosi took a cautious approach to the Conyers allegation, urging “due process” and taking pains to praise Conyers’ record. On Thursday, Pelosi called on Conyers to resign.
Instead, Bustos pointed the finger at House Speaker Paul Ryan, who hasn’t called on Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) to resign, after he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokeswoman.
Farenthold “who now it’s come out that he paid out $84,000 out of this slush fund, I don’t hear people asking Speaker Ryan why he’s not calling for his resignation,” Bustos said.
— Elena Schneider