Throwback Thursday: Before Email-Gate, Hillary Clinton Faced Backlash for Cookie-Gate
In 1992, as husband Bill was running for president, she made headlines when she said of her own career as an attorney: "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do is to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband, which is public life."
This story first appeared in the April 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
While Hillary Clinton, 67, has been in the news recently for using a personal email account during her tenure as secretary of state, it's hardly the first time she's caused controversy. In early 1992, during husband Bill's presidential campaign, Hillary, then 44, was asked whether maintaining her law practice in Arkansas constituted a conflict of interest with her husband's position as governor. She replied (and angered homemakers in the process) on March 16 by saying, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do is to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband, which is public life." The comment was picked up by news outlets across the country and resulted in a bake-off between Hillary and first lady Barbara Bush sponsored by Family Circle. (Hillary's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, at 67 calories each, won, and later that year so did her husband.)
Earlier in the year, during a Jan. 26, 1992, joint appearance with Bill on 60 Minutes during which he was grilled by Steve Kroft about his alleged adulterous relationship with Gennifer Flowers, Hillary also had riled up homemakers — along with one well-known country singer — when she noted: "I'm not sittin' here some little woman standin' by my man like Tammy Wynette. I'm sittin' here because I love him and I respect him and I honor what he's been through and what we've been through together and, you know, if that's not enough for people, then heck, don't vote for him." ("I resent your caustic remark," wrote Wynette in response, and Hillary apologized.)
As far as the campaign went, Flowers was in the rearview mirror. Says Kroft today, "I think the most important thing from that interview was that no one in the country had ever seen Hillary Clinton. They knew Bill was married to this really smart Little Rock lawyer and that was about it. People were impressed by her and a lot of people thought she saved his bacon."