As seen on The Huffington Post
Masters of search and the Twitterati in this election have obsessed about the real headline makers, Barack Obama‘s Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter and Mitt Romney‘s Barbara Comstock.
Cutter’s previously invisible hand has led many initiatives in her roles in the White House, Treasury, the Senate and, of course, campaigns. For those who have shot her to the top of Google’s search by putting her name alongside “husband” or “workout routine,” she is not just another Washington lawyer. She is a fierce, effective and engaging advocate for the President and that is why a lot of people on the other side have gone after her.
And she is not alone. For example, in one of the most politically important swing states, there is Barbara Comstock. The Virginia delegate and Virginia for Romney co-chair began her media career as Chief Counsel with the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. She has been successfully working the ground game, grassroots and coalition efforts throughout the Commonwealth — door to door — as well as the leading woman’s voice on TV, radio and media; she’s micro and macro. Known in the nineties as one-half of “The Barbaras,” she and the late great Barbara Olson were the toughest Republican advocates during President Clinton’s second term when everyone wanted to be a prosecutor or was being investigated by one. As the most effective female voice for Romney, I am reminded of her challenging role in the Justice department press office post-9/11.
Shattering the debate glass ceiling were two of the longest-serving Washington correspondents. Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz hosted two of the most important debates and showed the world just how in command strong women can be. CNN’s Jessica Yellin won the booking war by being the only reporter to host primetime specials featuring separate one-on-one interviews with President Obama and the first lady. They all represent a generation of Washington women who have played critical roles on the political inside and now have a supercharged public face. And none of these women blinked in the face of endless searches and comments about their personal lives and clothing.
Finally, there is the tech world. The prominence of women in media and politics is happening in technology chiefly through two top players, Sheryl Sandberg and Kara Swisher.
Washington Post veteran Swisher built the most important technology event of the year, All Things Digital’s D Conference, into the must-attend event for techie street cred. Swisher’s iconic interviews are best represented by hertough questions and velvet glove treatment with Mark Zuckerberg through a hoodie malfunction.
Zuckerberg turned to another Obama Treasury Department veteran, Sheryl Sandberg, to help him run Facebook and she has made history. This January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, she mesmerized world leaders just by walking through the main hall.
Notably, she is bringing Silicon Valley and top women from across the country out of the backrooms and into the boardrooms, and on to the public stage.
A group of us were inspired by Sandberg’s efforts and started the Washington Women Technology Network, which includes successful women from politics and government — former Congresswoman Susan Molinari at Google, Marne Levine at Facebook and Mindy Finn from Twitter. Another former congresswoman, Ellen Tauscher, who was most recently Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in the Obama Administration, is the Vice Chair of the Brent Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council of the United States. She is promoting the role of women as political and business leaders in international security, diplomacy, and nuclear weapon non-proliferation.
So you can keep searching, pinning and tweeting but none of these women have been defined by or talk about who they date, what they wear or any food plan.