On Saturday, I went scoping for some PUMA action at a women's luncheon that was part of the People's Inaugural Gala Weekend. In a ballroom at the downtown Grand Hyatt, dozens of ladies, and a very few men, munched on salads and chatted about card check and equal pay legislation as smiling images of famous women, from Suze Orman to Katie Couric to Michelle Obama, popped up on a large projection screen set up in a corner. Overall, the event was a dull affair--but when a panel of distinguished female leaders took to the stage, there was a moment worth mentioning. Among the speakers was feminist icon Gloria Steinem. Think back a few months and you'll remember that Steinem was an outspoken Hillary Clinton supporter, penning op-eds in her favor and stumping for her during the primaries. She ultimately supported Obama over McCain, but in her introductory remarks, Steinem's residual Hillary-love was clear.
She first expressed her excitement not that Obama is soon to be in the Oval Office, but that Bush is about to be out of it. "[Bush] has made me finally understand the feeling, even though I'm a pagan, of sweet Jesus, I'm free at last!" she said to happy applause. It then took her several minutes to even mention Obama's name, and when she did, she added, "in whom I have all the faith in the world"--awkwardly chuckling through the phrase. After this peculiar delivery, Steinem quickly noted that at Obama's right side forging a new world order would be secretary of state Clinton.
Now, I realize this was a women's luncheon, so we female folk were the focus of conversation, and I admit I didn't stay for the whole panel because, well, it was boring, so for all I know, Steinem later praised Obama to high heaven. But her strange introductory moment was a reminder that there are a lot of people out there who still wish this would've been Hillary's inauguration.