Hillary Clinton has been nationally controversial more or less since the 1992 presidential election, when she first became a national figure. In one early incident, Bill Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Governor Jerry Brown of California, accused him of sending business to the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Hillary Clinton was a partner. She responded by implying the charge was sexist, “the sort of thing that happens to women who have their own careers.”
But reporters kept pressing her, asking if she should have avoided the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life,” she snapped.
The comment blew up, becoming a major gaffe story on the campaign trail. Critics charged Clinton with belittling women who chose not to work, portraying them as quaint homemakers. She was on the defensive for some time—one of the early episodes that led the poisonous distrust of the press Clinton often exhibits today.
There was, however , some sweet revenge for Clinton, if you will. Later that fall, after Bill Clinton had won the Democratic nomination and was running against President George H.W. Bush, Hillary Clinton participated in a bake-off against First Lady Barbara Bush, sponsored by Family Circle magazine. Each of them submitted a recipe, and then readers were given a chance to bake the cookies and choose for themselves which was better. Clinton won. And she won again in 1996, too.