The progressive women's advocacy group EMILY's List launched a new campaign on Thursday called "Madam President," which aims to put women on the Democratic ticket for president and ultimately elect the first woman to the White House.
While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be the most likely choice for a future female president, EMILY's List is not just focusing on her potential candidacy. The group suggested a long list of possible candidates at a press conference on Thursday, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
"There is already so much excitement in this country about the idea of a woman president, and I have to say, there is one name that seems to be getting mentioned more than others," said EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock. "We do not know if Hillary is going to run, but we are hopeful that she may. And if she chooses not to, our options are far from exhausted."
Notably missing from the group's shortlist is freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whom EMILY's List says deserves a little bit of time in office before she begins to field 2016 pressure.
As part of its campaign roll-out, EMILY's List released a poll on Thursday showing that the country is overwhelmingly on board with the idea of a woman in the White House. Eighty-six percent believe that the U.S. is ready to elect a female president, and 72 percent believe that a woman is likely to win the 2016 race, according to the poll, which was conducted by 2012 presidential pollsters Lisa Grove and Jeffrey Liszt of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.
On nearly every issue tested, a majority of poll respondents said they believe a woman president would be as capable or more capable than a man. Respondents said they would be more inclined to trust a woman to understand the struggles of the middle class, to end partisan bickering and to put families ahead of politics. They said they would be more likely to trust a male president, however, on national security and foreign policy issues.
A poll released on Tuesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University shows that Clinton is the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016, with 63 percent of Democratic respondents ready to support her.
EMILY's List said it plans to hold town halls around the country to discuss the need for a woman president and to continue recruiting female candidates for all levels of public office.
“In 2012 voters across the country elected an historic number of women leaders because they had the right priorities— the Madam President campaign will build on that base, harness their energy and enthusiasm for women’s leadership, and channel it towards putting a woman in the Oval Office," Schriock said. "We have a deep bench of women leaders committed to fighting for progressive change who are up to the task of taking their place on the Democratic ticket in 2016 and beyond. It is clear that this is our time – we are ready for a Madam President.”