Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was handed a "pink slip" — a frilly piece of lingerie — yesterday from an enraged group of female war protesters who told her to quit her job because she was not doing enough to oppose military action against Iraq.
"Hillary is getting the pink slip," said Medea Benjamin, an organizer from New York, "because she is not representing her constituents. She should get another job."
The New York Democrat spoke calmly during a 10-minute repartee she had with about 50 women from Code Pink, a feminist anti-war group planning demonstrations this weekend in Washington.
Dressed in all manner of pink berets, boats, shawls, scarves, coats and even a bathrobe, the group members roamed the halls of Congress all afternoon, giving out pink slips to various legislators and hoisting banners such as "Real Democrats Listen to Peoples' Calls for Peace."
The pink lingerie, which demonstrators obtained at thrift shops, were decorated with anti-war slogans and inked-on pleas such as "Hillary, do the right thing."
The women first appeared at Mrs. Clinton's office at 2 p.m., singing, "Hillary, show some spine/We're putting our bodies on the line."
"We'll vote in 2008," vowed one demonstrator, alluding to Mrs. Clinton's rumored presidential ambitions.
The senator's staff finally agreed to make Mrs. Clinton available at 4:45 p.m.
Mrs. Clinton, who arrived 45 minutes late and insisted that all reporters leave the room before she addressed the protesters, explained her reasons for not trusting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"I admire your willingness to speak out on behalf of women and children in Iraq," she said. "The only way to change this is for Saddam Hussein to disarm, and I don't think he will. We are in a very difficult position right now. I'd love to agree with you, but I can't."
Members of the Code Pink for Peace women's group gather in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Thursday, March 6, 2003. They were protesting her stand on a possible war with Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
But when one of the protest leaders, Jodie Evans of Venice, Calif., tore off her full-length pink slip and presented it to Mrs. Clinton, the senator walked out.
"I am the senator from New York," she said, "and I will not put people's security at risk."
"But you are," the demonstrators shouted at her as she exited.
Another pink slip was handed to staff at the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, where demonstrators hoisted a sign reading, "Dianne Have Mercy on the Children."
"We don't think it's fair to the Iraqi people that she wants us to go to war," Miss Evans said. Feinstein spokesman Howard Gantman mollified the demonstrators by explaining that out of the 50,000 phone calls her office had received since August, 48,000 have been against war.
The demonstrators, who were mostly over 30 and from various states around the country, presented "badges of honor" to Democratic politicians who oppose war with Iraq. Recipients included Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Reps. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Barbara Lee of California, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Jim McDermott of Washington.
The publicity stunt was a walk-up to more anti-war activities, starting with a "teach-in" today at Shiloh Baptist Church at 9th and P streets NW and a women's march to the White House on Saturday. The National Organization for Women has loaned out a portion of its 15th Street NW offices to Code Pink organizers.
Code Pink for Peace women's group member Medea Benjamin of San Francisco, right, talks with Temera Luzzatto, chief of staff for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. during a demonstration by the group in Sen. Clinton's Capitol Hill office Thursday, March 6, 2003. The group is visiting Washington to campaign against a possible war with Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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