Clinton Cleavage Kerfuffle: It's Real and It's Spectacular (For Raising Money)

The Washington Post 2008 campaign blog "The Trail" has an update on Cleavage-gate, a minor row that seems to have caught the paper's fashion critic Robin Givhan with a dear-in-the-headlights look while giving New York's junior senator a change to perk up her campaign's finances. [Update: Tim Graham has an excellent take on the matter, coming at it from a different angle than I did here. It's a good read. Check it out.]

As the Post's Howard Kurtz and Anne E. Kornblut note, Givhan protests that she:

...would never say the column was about a body part... It was about a style of dress. People have gone down the road of saying, 'I can't believe you're writing about her breasts.' I wasn't writing about her breasts. I was writing about her neckline.

No matter. Kurtz and Kornblut note that Hillary's acolytes are using Givhan's July 20 article to push-up fundraising:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has sent out a fundraising letter calling a Washington Post fashion writer's column on Clinton's cleavage "grossly inappropriate" and asking donors "to take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness in American culture."

One week after the piece, by fashion writer Robin Givhan, took note of the Democratic candidate's low neckline during a speech on the Senate floor, senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis urged donors to help fight treatment she termed "insulting."


Lewis's fundraising letter begins: "Can you believe that The Washington Post wrote a 746-word article on Hillary's cleavage? ..... I've seen some off-topic press coverage--but talking about body parts? That is grossly inappropriate.

"Frankly, focusing on women's bodies instead of their ideas is insulting. It's insulting to every women who has ever tried to be taken seriously in a business meeting. It's insulting to our daughters--and our sons--who are constantly pressured by the media to grow up too fast."

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