CNN honors DC's 'Badass Women'

Many of the most powerful women in Washington gathered Wednesday for a panel discussion to kick off CNN's new web series, "Badass Women of Washington."

The panelists shared mini-cheeseburgers and their own reflections on being a woman in the nation's capital.

CNN host Dana Bash sat down with Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel Feinstein Ban on new offshore drilling must stay in the Build Back Better Act Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Jane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California MORE (D-Calif.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, and Army Surgeon General Nadja West at Fig & Olive in D.C.'s CityCenter.

The light-hearted event was filled with laughs as the participants traded jokes and anecdotes.

Feinstein shared experiences about what life was like for women in Congress decades ago.


“When men saw a bunch of red jackets on the [Senate] floor, their reaction was ‘What are they plotting now?’” Feinstein said.

But the event took a serious turn when Bash asked the panel if it was possible for women in politics to "have it all."

“I don’t think so,” Feinstein said. “And that may surprise you. To do this over an extended period of time, you make sacrifices, and those sacrifices play a role.”

She went on to criticize the current state of Washington politics, calling it a “difficult and sometimes poisonous arena,” and lamenting the growing polarization in decision making.

“Parties shouldn’t be a straightjacket on thought,” she said. “Compromise isn’t a dirty word.”

“I’m missing baseball games," said McDaniel, tearing up. “My daughter's at the doctor right now with pinkeye. I miss her.

"It’s hard, but you have to do it, because if women like us, with young kids, don’t stand up and take these leadership roles our voices won’t be heard.”

McDaniel's comments were met with applause and many in the audience were seen wiping their eyes.

“That’s my first time crying in D.C.,” McDaniel said.

Bash said the inspiration for the show came after a discussion with her colleagues about President Trump's 2016 election win over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' MORE.