What question preceded Hillary Clinton saying "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies"

What question/comment was Hillary responding to when she said, in 1992, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies”

I searched and couldn’t find the context. Every article mentions her quote, but no one mentions what directly preceded it. Was it a question, a comment? Was she just rambling and this came up?

I vote senseless ramblings of her with an attitude to illustrate a point without anything particular preceding it or she heard it from someone else and stole it, perhaps a feminist. A lot of people do that.

I posted this question in “General Questions” and not “IMHO”, so factual answers please, no speculations.

It was a comment from her rather than a direct question. I have no idea how old you are but the Clinton’s billed themselves as a set of “co-presidents” during their first campaign. That didn’t sit well with many people that just wanted her to play the role of a traditional First Lady rather than be active in government.

Here is an article that describes where that comment came from and why. However, it wasn’t just a passing quip. It sparked controversy among many groups including single mothers, stay at home mothers and social conservatives.

"In a prelude to the hard-knuckle politics that were to follow the Clintons for the next two decades, Gov. Brown accused Bill Clinton of improperly helping his wife’s legal practice in his capacity as the governor of Arkansas. (The accusation was not substantiated.) Hillary fired back via the press with a sentence that roiled traditionalists who were already fired up by the era’s culture wars.

“I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies and had teas,” she said."

Here is more discussion about the controversy it generated 1992 style in a Frontline transcript.

I remember that. I don’t remember the exact question but I think it was something along the lines of why she went back to work so quickly after having Chelsea instead of being a stay-at-home mom. In essence it was a loaded question with no right answer and she fell for it. There was a backlash against her answer, i.e. stay-at-home women voters were offended. But had she said the opposite then feminist women voters would have been.

Here is the closest I have gotten to some background

She starts with some general comment about being a career woman, then the video seems to be edited (around 24 seconds in, which I assume is when a question was asked) and then she makes the statement about the cookies.

It’s too bad the question was edited out.

As far as I know (and to the best of my memory), it wasn’t one specific question that she responded to - it was a canned comment that she used a number of times in several different variations. In the Frontline transcript that I linked to above, she used it again during that interview even though it was already highly controversial by then.

In the Frontline transcript you linked to, it’s not clear how things came about:

We have a quote from JERRY BROWN, then a quote from JACKIE JUDD, ABC NEWS, and then the cookie comment from Hillary.

It’s definitely not clear what came directly before her quote. Maybe it was “How do you respond to Jerry Brown about Bill funnelling money through your firm for state business?”, but we can’t know that based on that transcript, or any other transcript I’ve been able to find.

To the best of my memory, the comment had little or nothing to do with being a stay-at-home mom (although people certainly took it that way). It had to do with her being very different from the traditional politician’s wife , who may not have exactly have baked cookies and had teas * but certainly didn’t have her own career independent of her husband.

*more likely she was attending lunches to raise money either for charity or her husband

Here’s a New York Times article with the comment.


So it sounds like the timeline was:

  1. The Washington Post publishes an article about legal work she did for Madison Guaranty while her husband was attorney general and governor.

  2. Jerry Brown brings it up in the debate saying it was a conflict of interest and brings up the possibility that that the business affected the way the Arkansas government treated the S&L

  3. Hillary denies there was any undue influence, says she “could have baked cookies and held teas” as the first lady of Arkansas, but she wanted to continue to work as a lawyer, and part of that is representing banks, but she never used her position as Clinton’s wife to get favors for her clients, and she didn’t accept money the firm earned for clients who were doing state business after her husband got elected.

The ironic thing is that state law firm contracts are awful. Nobody wants to do state work if they can help it because the reimbursement rates are generally 75% of what private clients will pay.

Moderator Note

HeXen, political jabs are not allowed in General Questions, and since this post offers no factual information it isn’t suitable to this forum anyway, especially as a first response. No warning issued, but don’t do this again.

General Questions Moderator

And further irony - this lead to a comtest with Barabra Bush over who indeed had the best cookie recipe, and Hilary won!