Meet the New Class: The Senate Swears in a Historic 20 Female Senators


The senators argue, at the dawn of a new Congress, that having more women in leadership positions and in the ranks as members will help improve the outlook for a more productive year.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., says that women "leave their ego at the door and "more natural consensus builders." She said because of those traits women should be elected into more positions in Congress.

"If the major issue of our era right now is the stalemate of Congress, then the message to the American people should be elect more consensus builders to get the job done," Cantwell said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said that if Washington is ever going to be fixed she believes "it's women who are going to lead the way."

The senator says she's spoken to President Obama about this very issue, mentioning to the president that the women have a habit of meeting regularly on a bipartisan basis for dinner. The president, she said, plans on hosting the women of the Senate at the White House soon.

"When I saw President Obama a few weeks ago I told him about our quarterly dinners and I said, 'Mr. President, if you want to see bipartisanship in Washington invited the women senators to help you get it done.' And he loved the idea and he plans to invite us to the White House."

Predictions for a Female President

Among the senators there was unanimity in predicting, and hoping, that there will be a female president soon, perhaps as early as 2016.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said here too there is a key difference between how men and women express their personal and political ambitions.

"I think the thing is, is that every man wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror and says, 'I could be president.' I think every woman looks in the mirror and says, 'What can I get done for my country today?' "

Feinstein jokingly corrected her noting that a few times she's toyed with the idea in the midst of a particularly bad episode of Washington gridlock.

"Well, you may think it from time to time," Feinstein said smiling at the prospect. "Usually when you're very frustrated you think... 'If I were president I could get this done.'"

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., shared a story about her 8-year-old daughter, Kate, who came home one day and told her mother that she didn't want her to run for president because she herself wanted to be the first female president.

"Well she better call Hillary [Clinton]," Boxer quipped of their former colleague in the Senate, widely believed to have a shot at the White House should she run in 2016.

"Did you break the news to her we're not waiting that long?" McCaskill asked with a laugh.

Ayotte smiling said she didn't want to break the news to her daughter that there potentially could be a female president before her daughter is of age. She said she told her: "Listen, your mom's going to campaign across the country for you."

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