SACRAMENTO, Calif. — New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up a plum endorsement Wednesday when Sen. Dianne Feinstein endorsed her bid for the White House, calling Clinton "a woman of strength and compassion who has a powerful voice."
Feinstein has consistently ranked highest in popularity among Democratic elected officials in California. But her endorsements – including that of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides in 2006 – haven't always led to victory in the general election.
Yet noting Feinstein's stature in California, Clinton said: "I am thrilled to have every endorsement I have received so far. But I have to say this one means a great deal to me personally."
In a joint conference call, Feinstein said Clinton is poised to make a historic breakthrough for women in politics.
"In the 1970s when I entered elective office ... there were very few women in executive elected office," Feinstein said. "Today women are serving at every level of government. ... One great barrier remains, and Hillary Clinton is the woman to shatter that barrier."
Hailing Clinton as a potent force in the U.S. Senate and as someone who won international credibility as a first lady who visited 85 countries, Feinstein added: "She doesn't need on-the-job training. And I think the position of America today really warrants someone who is in her shoes. And the fact that her shoes have maybe an inch or two of heels really shouldn't matter."
Previously, Clinton picked up key endorsements in California from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.
Responding to a reporter's question Wednesday, Clinton offered support for the embattled mayor in the wake of disclosures of his extramarital affair with a Spanish-language television anchor.
"Let me say that I have spoken with the mayor," Clinton said. "I also am well aware that he is the mayor of our second-largest city, and I think that his work on behalf of many of the issues that I care about is very significant. So I will continue to welcome his support."