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CNN honors Feinstein, Chao as ‘badass women of Washington’

CNN is celebrating Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as “badass woman of Washington.”

The pair are the first women in a series that was originally conceived earlier this year after CNN’s Dana Bash, Abigail Crutchfield and Rachel Smolkin “wondered what Hillary Clinton’s loss meant for women” over lunch. 

{mosads}”Our answer: Women are already breaking barriers in a man’s town, muscling their way into power and staying there. Their stories show there are Badass Women all around Washington,” the story reads. 

Feinstein’s profile tracks her life story through her rise in politics to eventually becoming a mayor of San Francisco and a U.S. senator in 1992. 

Bash asked Feinstein why she never ran for president. 

“I don’t know. I felt I’d never be elected. See, look how hard it is, look at Hillary [Clinton]. I mean, look at what she’s gone through,” Feinstein responded “wistfully,” as Bash described it. 

Bash also talked about Feinstein’s birthday coming up. 

“It is hard to believe that Feinstein is now the oldest member of the US Senate — she turns 84 on June 22,” the story says. 

When I told her people would be shocked to learn this, she smiled with an uncharacteristic sheepish grin. 

“Don’t rub it in,” she joked. “It’s what I’m meant to do, as long as the old bean holds up,” she said, putting her finger on her temple.

In Bash’s conversation with Chao, the Taiwan-born 64-year-old who also served in the Reagan and both Bush administrations says she felt more pressure to succeed given her Asian heritage. 

“I was really scared that I would not be able to catch on, latch on to mainstream America. I wouldn’t be able to find a job. I couldn’t — I couldn’t make anything of myself. I’d be a disgrace to my family,” Chao said.

Chao also reveals what’s it’s like to be married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

“I call him my low-maintenance husband. He does his own laundry and he cooks,” she says. 

“He does mine too sometimes,” she said, referring to the laundry. 

“He’s really good,” she added about his cooking. “And he’s really considerate,” she continued, “and he’s really very thoughtful. So, life with him, you know, is very easy that way.”

In addition to Feinstein and Chao, the series will profile Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja West.

Tags Dianne Feinstein Hillary Clinton Jaime Herrera Beutler Jeanne Shaheen Mitch McConnell
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