VOICES: Nora Ephron Breaks the Glass Ceiling

Nora Ephron, the writer of "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," began her career in Washington. Eventually, she became a journalist, but before that she was an intern in the Kennedy White House. Now a New York die hard, Ephron has authored the satirical novel "I Feel Bad About My Neck," in which she opines about everything from the struggle for eternal youth to her brief time in Camelot.

Nora Ephron: I realized to my sadness that I was probably the only person in the entire Kennedy White House that JFK had not made a pass at. I like to think it was because I had a really bad permanent wave. But I don't know. … The fact that we did not have a thing, I can't say it's because he never saw me. I just can't. … He was leaving for Hyannis on a Friday afternoon, and what you did in the White House is that everyone went out to the back porch and watched the President leave. … And he came out of the Oval Office right behind me, and I turned and I saw him and he saw me. And the helicopter is going, and you can't hear a thing. And he said to me, "How are you coming along?" And I said, "What?" And that was it. That was it. Me and JFK.

After I was an intern for JFK, it was very clear to me that Washington was probably not a great place for women. … I don't think that there's any question. If you look at the events of the last couple of years, there's too much pretend manliness going on around here.

I'm not one of those people who will tell you that women bring more compassion and understanding to almost anything. … So I don't really-- I can't get into the "If a woman were president, everything would be sweeter and kinder." Because if you look at the women who have been leaders of various countries, sweetness and kindness is not one of the top two things that you would use to describe, let's say, Golda Meir or Indira Gandhi. … So I don't think people are looking for some sort of fabulous, female twist on leadership. I think they're looking for a leader.

I don't think there's any question that people will vote for a woman for president. … If a woman is the better candidate, it's not going to be a big thing about whether she's a woman or a man. … I don't-- And it could just as easily be a Republican woman as a Democratic woman.

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