By DEVLIN BARRETT
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 28, 2007; 7:46 PM
WASHINGTON -- Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton declared Wednesday that if you look up the word "feminist" in a dictionary, you'll find her.
Clinton received the endorsement of the National Organization for Women, a group of half a million members who support feminist candidates for elective office.
Asked if she viewed herself as a feminist, Clinton said by the standard definition, yes.
"If you look in the dictionary, the word feminist means someone who believes in equal rights for women in society, in the economy, the political process _ generally believes in the equality of women. And I certainly believe in the equality of women," she said.
Her response was met with enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.
The New York senator and Democratic front-runner has launched a nationwide outreach to women voters, who are a majority of the electorate. The NOW endorsement was expected, and the Clinton campaign hopes the group's membership will strengthen the ranks of campaign volunteers and supporters.
The senator is trying to smash the highest glass ceiling in the nation by becoming the first woman elected president. Part of a generation of women who expanded opportunities for women in the workplace, she has sought to frame her current campaign as a historic event.
"This is really an emotional moment for me," Clinton said, noting that when her own mother was born, U.S. women did not have the right to vote.
Kim Gandy, chair of NOW's political action committee, said the group "will help elect feminist candidates to the House and Senate who will work with President Clinton to undo the damage done by the Bush administration."
Clinton praised the group's decades of work on women's issues.
"By organizing and mobilizing you have helped change every woman's future, whether she knows it or not. And you have widened the circle of opportunity for all Americans," Clinton said.
Other high-profile women are also lining up to support her.
Billie Jean King, the tennis star, formally endorsed Clinton Wednesday. Such moves are part of the Clinton campaign's "Women for Hillary" effort.
Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 was the first female vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket, sent an e-mail fundraising solicitation on behalf of Clinton.
"It's been 23 years since I was the first woman on a major party presidential slate, and I remember what it was like breaking that barrier _ including the barrage of attacks at the hands of the Republicans," Ferraro wrote. "Now Hillary is poised to break the biggest glass ceiling of them all. This time, when we elect the best, most qualified candidate for president, for the first time we'll be putting a woman in the White House."
Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy in New York contributed to this report.