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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Juliette Kayyem

Urging women to Be All That You Can’t Be

President Obama’s commencement address to the graduating class at Barnard College on Monday had no throwaway lines. It was for and about women; choosing a women’s college for a highly touted presidential graduation speech was a signal that Democrats will use every opportunity to make gender, and gender rights, a political issue this fall.

And after invoking the usual platitudes, Obama included an eye-opening line: “Until a girl can imagine herself, can picture herself as a computer programmer, or a combatant commander, she won’t become one.” The president fully understands that the rules excluding women from combat pretty much rule out the possibility that she can ever aspire to be a combatant commander. This was Obama’s way of signaling that he will change those rules if he’s reelected.

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