Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that women who are mothers have the “worrying gene.”
Clinton, who is making women’s issues a central component of her campaign, revealed some of her thoughts on female genetics in a Mother’s Day speech in Grafton, West Virginia on May 11, 2008.
“Judging from the mothers I meet across our country, I’ve come to believe that hard work, determination and resiliency are encoded in our DNA,” Clinton said. “We know we have the ‘worrying’ gene. We know we have the ‘put your coat on because it’s cold outside’ gene. Well, we also have the ‘stand up and fight for what you believe in’ gene.”
Clinton then told a story about how her grandmother Hannah stopped doctors from amputating her son’s feet after an accident.
“But if it hadn’t been for that mother saying no, you’re not going to do this, my father’s life would have been so much different,” Clinton said, invoking the story of a mother who sent body armor to a child in the Iraq War — which Clinton voted for — because the military would not provide it.
“So when I think of Hannah, I think of the mother who is working to help her child who is labeled a failure in school until he finally experiences success,” Clinton said. “I think of the mother who petitions the mayor or the city council or the police chief to demand more protection for children when they are outside playing in the neighborhood. Or the mother who takes matters into her own hands and sends body armor to her son or daughter in Iraq when the military didn’t provide it.”
Clinton then revealed that her own mother fell in love with Democratic senator and former Klansman Robert Byrd.
“And for just a moment, I’d like to mention your wonderful senior Senator, Senator Robert C. Byrd,” Clinton said. “Many of you know that Senator Byrd lost his mother when he was only one year old. He grew up in poverty, but was fortunate to be taken in by an aunt and uncle who gave him the love and foundation of family. Every year around Mother’s Day, Senator Byrd gives a speech on the Senate floor in appreciation of mothers. When I came to the Senate, and my mother spent a lot of time with us, she now lives with us, she used to watch CSPAN all the time to see if she could catch a glimpse of me — to be very honest about it. And she fell in love with Senator Byrd. And a few years ago I took her to have lunch with Senator Byrd in his office and she told him how much she appreciated his Mother’s Day speeches.”