WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2013, ( – Would the woman most closely associated with the TSA airport stripsearches make a good presidential candidate? The abortion lobbying group EMILY's List and The Washington Post think so.

This month, EMILY's List launched an initiative entitled “Madam President” dedicated to electing the first female president.

The group's president, Stephanie Schriock, said she was not placing all her bets on a Hilary Clinton candidacy.


“If she chooses not to, our options are far from exhausted,” she said. “We have a deep bench of women leaders committed to fighting for progressive change who are up to the task of taking their place on the Democratic ticket in 2016 and beyond.”

Among those she listed were Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Adding to the speculation, The Washington Post named Napolitano “a woman to watch for 2016” in February. The newspaper reports the DHS secretary “is quietly making it known that she is considering the race, and there is reason to take her seriously.”

If she chooses to run, she will have to rehabilitate a deeply negative image.

Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, has become one of the least popular figures in the administration since overseeing the TSA's invasive screenings at airports, which range from naked body scans to full-body pat-downs.

These and her invitations for Americans to report anything fishy about their fellow citizens – dubbed “See Something? Say Something” – earned her the nickname “Big Sis” from Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report.

In 2010, Rasmussen Reports noted that 47 percent of Americans viewed her unfavorably – 28 percent “very” unfavorable.

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In April 2009, her Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report on “rightwing extremism” in the U.S. that stated likely offenders “may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” The report was later withdrawn.

As governor of Arizona, she vetoed a conscience bill that would have allowed pharmacists to deline distributing the abortifacient morning-after pill, as well as a fetal pain bill.

Her successor, Republican Jan Brewer, signed the fetal pain bill, which restricts abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, as well as banning telemed abortions, improving the state's informed consent laws, and signing the nation's first ban on race- or sex-selective abortions.

Brewer's approval rating spiked 16 percent in two weeks after she signed a restrictive immigration bill.

EMILY's List did not include Brewer in its list of potential female presidential contenders.

Others notably absent from the List's list were pro-life Republicans such as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

In 2012, the group contributed $3.8 million to candidates, all Democrats. Its top three recipients were Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly lesbian U.S. Senator. Montana's Jon Tester received $3,000.

It spent $7.7 million on advertisements in key races, devoting more than three-times as much money to attack ads ($6 million) as it did to ads favoring a candidate ($1.7 million). All but $70,675 of the negative spending was directed against Republicans.

The group did not donate a dollar to any Republican candidate.

The current president of EMILY's List may be interested in testing the presidential waters herself. Stephanie Schriock is considering a run for U.S. Senate in Montana as a Democrat.

In 2012, 44 percent of women voted for Republican Mitt Romney. A Gallup poll conducted during the first week of May shows that the percentage of American women who describe themselves as pro-life is roughly equal to those who call themselves “pro-choice.”  


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