"Although we're surprised by this news, no one deserves a return to private life more than Pat Schroeder and she'll be a leader for women in whatever she chooses to pursue," said NOW Executive Vice President Kim Gandy.
"For nearly a quarter century Pat Schroeder has been the dean of feminists in Congress," said Gandy. "Her distinct combination of feminist passion, quick wit and political savvy are irreplaceable. Who can ever forget her calling former President Reagan, "the Teflon president?" She sure made that one stick. And in typical Schroeder style, she pointed out that some men think "harass" is two words."
NOW could always count on Schroeder to defend not only reproductive rights, but also poor women's rights, women's health and lesbian and gay civil rights. She was a key player in passing the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.
Schroeder, in turn, could count on NOW's support. "Our members raised a small fortune for her when she announced a presidential bid," said Gandy, "and we would do it again in a heartbeat." Schroeder said today she would not rule out running for office again, but had no immediate plans to pursue a Senate seat.
Gandy says it is a consolation to feminists, and a tribute to Schroeder's leadership, that she leaves a district with several strong feminist women who can run and win. And Gandy credits Schroeder for a great closing quip, in a CNN interview today, when she said she isn't concerned about her party's chances in 1996 because Newt Gingrich is trying to get Republicans to "morph" into him.