Hillary Clinton Is Tired of Having the 'Having It All' Debate

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Update, 8:24: Marie Claire is standing by the story. Lea Goldman, Marie Claire's features director, said in a statement that while she agrees Clinton was not talking specifically about Slaughter, the "whining" quote was not just some throwaway about Holden Caulfield. Clinton was commenting on disliking when unhappy women in general whine, "part of a larger conversation about women in the workplace and striking a work-life balance," Goldman's statement says. "It's a great piece, and we are quite proud of it."

Clinton senior advisor Philippe Reines, meanwhile, maintains a more neutral tone. He told The Atlantic Wire that the Secretary of State does not see work/life balance as some big argument: "The Secretary’s point is that while this has become about taking sides, she doesn’t view it that way, she doesn’t see it as right or wrong, one approach or the other."

Update, 6:62 PM: Turns out, Hillary Clinton did not call Anne-Marie Slaughter a whiner—she was calling J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye character Holden Caulfield a whiner. The State Department's senior advisor Philippe Reines released a transcript to reporters Thursday evening with the quote:

AYELET WALDMAN:  My daughter was reading Catcher in the Rye, and I said, “Oh, don’t you love that book?”  And she said, “What is his problem?  He’s unhappy?  He should go volunteer.”

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Good for her.  I like your daughter without even meeting her.  I mean, I think there’s so much to that, because I mean, God, I can’t stand whining.  I can’t stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they are not happy with choices they made.  You live in a time when there are endless choices, and you don’t have to have money for them.  Money certainly helps.  I mean, having that kind of financial privilege goes a long way, but you don’t even have to have money for it.  But you have to – even, like, work on yourself, learn to play a sport, do something.   

AYELET WALDMAN:  I’m going to tell Sophie that you agree with her.

"It's outlandish and misleading for Marie Clare to imply anything else from sympathizing with reporter’s daughter Sophie," Reines said. 

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Update: Slaughter responded to the news in a tweet, saying she doesn't think her former boss was referring to her:

Hillary Clinton, for whom I have the greatest admiration and loyalty, was not talking about me when she mentioned whining. #anything4astory

— Anne-Marie Slaughter (@SlaughterAM) October 18, 2012

Original: In a profile by Ayelet Waldman in Marie Claire, Hillary Clinton responded to a question about her former employee Anne-Marie Slaughter, who wrote The Atlantic's cover story on why women still can't have it all, with some direct words: "Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs."

Slaughter was the director of policy planning at the State Department and wrote about quitting the position in part to spend more time with her two teenage sons. In the piece, Slaughter praised her former boss: "Watching Hillary Clinton in action makes me incredibly proud—of her intelligence, expertise, professionalism, charisma, and command of any audience." And noted of her time at State, "I had it better than many of my peers in D.C.; Secretary Clinton deliberately came in around 8 a.m. and left around 7 p.m., to allow her close staff to have morning and evening time with their families (although of course she worked earlier and later, from home)." But Waldman writes that Clinton's "disapproval was palpable" when she brought up the story. Clinton touted her own commitment to "enabling women to continue to do high-stress jobs while caring for not only children, but [also] aging parents" but added:

"Other women don't break a sweat. They have four or five, six kids. They're highly organized, they have very supportive networks." ...

"I can't stand whining," she says. "I can't stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they're not happy with the choices they've made. You live in a time when there are endless choices ... Money certainly helps, and having that kind of financial privilege goes a long way, but you don't even have to have money for it. But you have to work on yourself ... Do something!"

The rest of Waldman's profile of Clinton is at Marie Claire.

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