Category Archives: Events

Review: The Binibining Pilipinas 2017 Pageant Night

This batch could easily rival the 2011 batch which I consider up to this day the best batch of national delegates from the last 10 years. Not even the 2013 Golden Batch, who happened to be the most winningest batch could rival it in my eyes but going back to this year’s edition, it has been a rather predictable year as the perceived frontrunners were easily catapulted to the top at the end of the rather grueling six hours finals night last April 30!

The Stage

I absolutely love the stage design this year. It’s still minimal but I thought it looks more sophisticated than the set-up from the previous editions.

The Hosts

I thought Xian Lim’s much steadier now compared to his first stint. Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach on the other hand was a bit of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong tho, I loved Kween P but she could’ve work the crowd more on and off the cam. Mostly, she was just reading the prompter. She looks absolutely smashing though! Segment host Venus Raj meanwhile was a delight to watch – she who started it all – will always have a special place in pageant fans’ hearts. She’s a fantastic segment host and I hope that we’d see more of her hosting big events like this.

Awarding of Special Awards

There are two set of special awards given before the first cut and before the Top 15 Q&A. It was fast-paced which I liked very much. As for the awardees, I can’t say I was that surprised saved for two awards –the Photogenic award which I thought is already locked for Katarina Rodriguez and the Miss Philippine Airlines to Charmaine Elima.

Best in Swimsuit – Binibini 19 Rachel Peters
Best in Long Gown – Binibini 15 Maria Angelica De Leon
Miss Philippine Airlines – Binibini 31 Katarina Rodriguez
Miss Creamsilk – Binibini 15 Maria Angelica De Leon
Bb. Friendship: Bb. 22 Chanel Olive Thomas
Face of Binibini (Miss Photogenic): Bb. 19 Rachel Peters
Miss Talent : Bb. 1 Dane Marasigan
Best National Costume : Bb. 22 Chanel Thomas
Miss JAG : Bb. 19 Rachel Peters

The First Cut: The Top 25

The first cut was not that surprising as well saved for a few Binibinis expected by pageant aficionados to moved forward but end up as mere clappers. They are Angelique De Leon, Dindi Pajares and Jamaica Ambal. I’m real sad for Angelique because this was her last hurrah to Binibini as she’s already 27 and ineligible to join again.

It was the swimsuit round and If I’m being honest, I didn’t really like the design of their swimsuits. I thought the ones used during the press presentation are more flattering.

Singers JayR, Kris Lawrence and some ABS-CBN’s newbies provided the background music during this segment.

The standouts for me during this round are Rachel Peters, Sirene Sutton and Charmaine Elima.

Evening Gown Competition

Gone are the days when the Binibinis had to wear evening gowns from Cumbia. Them 25 who strutted their to-die-for evening gowns are just a vision on stage. Filipino designers are pure genius!

Dane Felise Marasigan was a vision in yellow so I was slightly disappointed that she didn’t make the top 15.

Rachel Peters was channeling MJ Lastimosa and I just loved it!

Mariel De Leon was perfection to the brim during this segment. No wonder she won this part of the competition.

My sentimental favorite Charmaine Elima looks ethereal in a shimmering white gown!

Top 15 Deciding Question and Answer Segment

I actually loved this format but I just hope the audience weren’t that unruly because most of the time, I couldn’t hear the question asked by the judges. My heart just goes out for Sirene Sutton during this segment. The girl was hella nervous and it showed on her non-answer answer. Those who gave the passable to best answers were declared the winners f the night so Q&A was obviously given a lot of points this year.

The Runners-up

Second Runner-up: Kristel Guelos.

Nobody expected Kristel to make it this far but she must have been a really good performer in the eyes of the judges that she ended up usurping much favored candidates  to garner the second runner-up award.

First Runner-up: Charmaine Elima.

She was a heavy favorite to win the top plum but her Achilles heel rears up its ugly head when it matters most. She’s improved tons but she still needs to practice to be more articulate. Her way of answering reminds me so much of Venus Raj during her pageant days. I think she could easily improve on this factor because she’s a smart lady based on her answer. She couldn’t just articulate her thoughts that well. A first runner-up finish was an upgrade tho and I thought this was a nod from the organization itself because they could easily bestowed her a minor crown but they decided to give her another chance at snatching that elusive Miss Universe Philippines crown.

The Queens of 2017!

Binibining Pilipinas Globe – Nelda Ibe

She was very much underrated on so many pageant hot picks but her name keeps on popping up every now and then. She delivered well and she’s very much deserving of a crown!

Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental – Katarina Rodriguez

She was touted to be the face of the competition and her showing during the evening gown and the question and answer portion sealed her win. A couple of days after the competition, she’s got some hang ups whether to accept the crown or not which I thought was a bit disconcerting because she’s obviously gunning for the Miss Universe Philippines crown. It’s a good thing everything’s finally settled and she’s (hopefully) happy with her title. She could be the country’s first Miss Intercontinental winner.

Binibining Pilipinas Grand International – Elizabeth Clenci

One word – Classy. Voila! A Crown!

Binibining Pilipinas Supranational – Chanel Olive Thomas

I loved her! She was so charming during the finals night. She’s a sure win the moment she almost stumbled in the evening gown competition. This girl is gonna go places!

Binibining Pilipinas International – Ma. Angelica De Leon

The daughter of celebrities Christopher De Leon and Sandy Andolong has now a brand of her own. She and Rachel were neck and neck for the top plum but she was deemed by the judges to succeed reigning Miss International Kylie Versoza. I’ve no problem with her placement.

Miss Universe Philippines – Rachel Peters

She’s probably the first representative of the Philippines in years that could compete right away without so much transformation or training. She’s a complete package already. She’s  Miss Universe waiting to be crown. I mean, she was faultless during the pageant night and she looks really sincere when her name was called despite the fact that the rest of Araneta that night was chanting her number. Let me tell you, this girl is so going to bring home our fourth Miss Universe crown!

It was a fun night. A bit annoying because of the delay during the announcement of winners but it was so worth it. Team Philippines is ready to slay this year!

Images courtesy of the Binibining Pilipinas Official Facebook Page
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Live Blogging The Binibining Pilipinas 2017!

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First Set of Special Awards!

1. Best in Talent – Dane Felisse Marasigan
2. Miss Friendship – Chanel Olive Thomas
3. Miss Photogenic – Rachel Peters
4. Best National Costume – Chanel Olive Thomas
5. Bb. Manila Bulletin – Christagale Borja
6. JAG Queen – Rachel Peters.

First Cut:
TOP 25
1.18 Nelda Ibe
2. 2 Arienne Louis Calingo
3. 19 Rachel Peters
4. 27 Beatrice Valente
5. 1 Dane Felisse Marasigan
6. 31 Katarina Rodriguez
7. 28 Juliana Kapeundle
8. 17 Camille Manalo
9. 37 Sammie Anne Legazpi
10. 22 Chanel Olive Thomas
11. 39 Elizabeth Clenci
12. 6 Ma. Beijeleen Nama
13. 13 Sirene Sutton
14. 40 Kristel Guelos
15. 7 Jennyline Carla Malpaya
16. 15 Mariel De Leon
17. 32 Charmaine Elima
18. 9 Vanessa Saliba
19. 33 Kristi Rose Cequeña
20. 16 Larah Grace Lcap
21. 20 Christagale Borja
22. 26 Ruffa
23. 34 Gabriela Ortega
24. 10 Jezha Huelar
25. 38 Ana Patricia Asturias

The girls who are expected to make the cut but didnt: Angelique De Leon, Dindi Pajares and Jamaica Ambal

Pia still have not change her wardrobe. Hehe!

Next Round: Swimsuit Competition.

JR and company serenading the girls! A much faster pacing for this round which is great!

They’re called in chronological order this time.

Sirene, Rachel, Chanel and Maine are the most outstanding this round.

Evening Gown Competition

#1 was a genius for wearing that bright yellow evening gown!

Mariel was very enigmatic!

Rachel Peters is channeling MJ Lastimosa!

Chanel was charming, almost stumbling into her pink gown.

Ruffa Nava is such a revelation tonight!

Charmaine looks ethereal with her sequined white evening gown!

Second Set of Special Awards:

Best in Swimsuit – Rachel Peters

Best in Evening Gown – Mariel De Leon

Miss PAL – Katarina Rodriguez

Miss Creamsilk – Mariel De Leon

Next Round: Top 15

Top 15
1. 39 Elizabeh Clenci
2. 15 Mariel De Leon
3. 22 Chanel Olive Thomas
4. 31 Katarina Rodriguez
5. 10 Jezha Huelar
6. 13 Sirene Sutton
7. 40 Kristel Guelos
8. 18 Nelda Ibe
9. 32 Charmaine Elima
10. 20 Christagale Borja
11. 17 Maria Camile Manalo
12. 34 Gabriela Ortega
13. 16 Lara Grace Lacap
14. 19 Rachel Peters
15. People’s Choice: 28 Juliana Kapeundl

***

Q&A Sirene choked big time. Poor girl. I feel for her.

Who nailed their Q&A? Rachel Peters, Katarina Rodriguez, Charmaine Elima, Juliana Kapeundl, Chanel Olive Thomas, Mariel De Leon

Judges have been deliberating for almost an hour now…

WINNERS:

Miss Universe Philippines – #19 Rachel Peters
International – #15 Mariel De Leon
Grand International – #39 Elizabeth Clenci
Intercontinental – #31 Katarina Rodriguez
Supranational – #22 Chanel Olive Thomas
Globe – #18 Nelda Ibe
First Runner-up – #32 Charmaine Elima
2nd Runner-up – #40 Kristel Guelos

images via Binibining Pilipinas FB Page.

My Binibining Pilipinas 2017 Final Hot Picks!

It’s that time of the year again to share with you my final hot picks…err… predictions for this year’s Binibining Pilipinas edition! This has been a pretty solid batch with fresh new faces, crossovers and repeaters vying for the six crowns at stake and snag the rights to represent the Philippines in the international beauty arena! Without further ado, let me present to you my Top 16 Finalists! (Note that a 16th lucky girl will be able to advance thru fan voting!)

16. Arienne Louise Calingo
15. Jennyline Carla Malpaya
14. Cristagale Borja
13. Chanel Olive Thomas
12. Ruffa Nava
11. Dindi Joy Pajares
10. Jehza Mae Huelar
9. Nelda Ibe

I loved Angelique since her first try in 2014 and I still loved her until now. She’s improved a lot and looks more relaxed now. What I don’t get is her inability to turn on that charm from the get-go. I don’t think she’ll be able to do a Pia, MJ or Maricar but she’s got something up her sleeves – I’m placing her as my second runner-up!

Juliana is a living barbie doll in person and I just want her to train more and come back next year because this girl just screams “Miss International!” but not this year though.

In 2014, I honestly thought that she’ll end up usurping Valerie Weigman at the final night of the Miss World Philippines but she was not focused and laugh her way to fifth place. This year, I just love her aura and I think that she’d be perfect for Miss Globe where she could possibly snatch the title back for the Philippines!

Sirene is just pure class and elegance! I’ve said this about Mutya Datul in 2013 and she end up becoming the first Asian to win the Miss Supranational title.

Mariel is a consistent player all throughout this competition. I placed her as my eventual Bb. Pilipinas – International in 2013 but both she and Maine (my MUP 2013) went home empty-handed. I’ve a feeling that this year, she’d finally get a crown and I think that the unpredictability of this pageant may very well suit Mariel’s brand of beauty!

She’s already recognizable in South East Asia where Asia’s Next Top Model was aired a couple of years back and her competing to this Thai-owned pageant will instantly make her a favorite! She’s vibrant, charming and a really good communicator. What more could Mr. Nawat ask for?

She was under my radar until last week when I finally saw her in person. This girl’s beauty is breathtaking and I don’t think the Japanese could resist her infectious smile! Jamaica Ambal is going international!

and my Miss Universe – Philippines is none other than…

I’ve said it all from my last three hot picks. Maine is the strongest candidate for the Miss Universe title. She just need to give a decent answer in the Q&A portion and not choke like her 2013 stint, and she’ll go home already gearing up for the 66th Miss Universe pageant! Maine is a complete package whose mere beauty could eclipse any delegates from all over the world. This is not a joke.  If you think she’s beautiful in pictures and in videos, you have got to see her in person!

See ya tonight at the Araneta, folks!

images courtesy of the Binibining Pilipinas FB Page.

My Top 5 National Costumes for Binibining Pilipinas 2017!

It’s that time of the year again when the uber-talented Filipino designers showcased their finest in creating intricate and incredible national costumes for the country’s prime national pageant – the Binibining Pilipinas! Without further ado, let me present to you my top 5 national costumes for this year’s edition!

My 5th from Binibini 10 Jehza Mae Huelar

4th from Binibini 18 Nelda Ibe

3rd from Binibini 1 Dane Felisse Marasigan

My 2nd favorite from Binibini 22 Chanel Olive Thomas

and my Best National Costume this year goes to…

Charmaine’s impeccable costume was designed by Pablo Mendez who took his inspiration from “La Naval de Manila” crossover with “Reyna Emperatriz” and the result is truly heavenly! This is art at its finest!

All photos courtesy of the official Binibining Pilipinas Facebook Page.
  

My 65th Miss Universe Final Predictions!

This is going to be a bit tricky for me because I’ve never seen the interviews of each candidate and I’m basing my final choices based on the preliminary competition as well as the events they have participated in leading into this event.

(Also, I’m a bit late posting this because I’ve just been to Burias Island and have not slept at all – so I’m basically zombie-ish watching this one right now.)

So off to my final 13 (apparently, the 13th spot will be given to the girl voted by the public worldwide to go through)

So I’ve made a ranking based on the swimsuit and the evening gown competition from the prelims (again) and below is what I came up with. (tho not necessarily my final 13)

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13. Indonesia – this is supposed to be the girl with whom the public voted for and Miss Philippines has it in the bag but she’s not gonna be awarded this because she’s a shoo-in even without this. I am predicting that Indonesia will get the 13th spot! Also, I found her not that impressive during the prelims so she should thank her lucky stars!

12. Curacao – sash factor wise, she may not make it at all.

11. Brazil – She didn’t make my Top 12 from the prelims but she’s obviously very personable in person and the fans just loved her! I do think that she’d make the cut but during the Prelims, she’s just too much for me.

10. Great Britain – This girl has got a great personality. She’s also exceptionally pretty. She need better styling if she wanna go further than this.

9. China – What a dear surprise from China! She’s not as polished as Miss Universe China 2011 but she’s got this enchanting aura that may work in her favor…

8. Portugal – This girl for me aside from Belgium, France and Australia has one of the most beautiful faces in the competition and if I’m being honest, her face alone made me put her on my list

7. Spain – she was exceptional during the prelims but I’m not sure how exactly memorable she was when it comes to the eyes of the judging panel. I will still give her a chance tho. After all, her compatriot Amparo Munoz was crowned here during the second staging of the Miss Universe in 1974.

Top Six

6. Thailand – This girl won’t go unnoticed because she’s got a very interesting story to present to the judging panel. Aside from that, you can see that she’s studied so hard to be a perfect Thai delegate. She’s the one I’m suspecting to be the biggest spoiler of the night!

5. Venezuela – She’s my initial pick for the title of Miss Universe but I’ve seen some of her videos and I just have this feeling that she’s going to falter come Q and A portion.

4. Australia – this young fresh thing from Australia has all the making of Miss Universe. She’s gonna go higher, I can already tell but I don’t think she’s stronger than my pick for the final three.

2nd Runner-up: Argentina – I know that this is not a popular pick but I just loved her! She was spectacular during the prelims! She was mesmerizing and if the Q&A will work on her favor, she could make it. The only thing that’s preventing me from elevating her as my Miss Universe pick is her sash.

1st Runner-up: Philippines – This resilient, brave and very beautiful Philippine delegate will always be remembered as the first Miss Universe representative from the land of the orient sea to use an interpreter (as confirmed by the Philippine Tourism Secretary, although there’s a disclaimer that says, “In case”). From the divisive support from pageant fans Filipino and Non-Filipino alike, Maxine has rise to the occasion and delivered a spellbinding preliminary performance.

She still can accomplish a back to back but she needs to be perfect tonight to do such thing!

My Miss Universe 2016 is Miss FRANCE!

She was gliding like a queen during the preliminary. Her body’s to die for and clearly has the best face in the competition. I firmly believe that she should win the crown for these points alone and if she’s got the wit to back these area – then we will have the perfect successor of the confidently beautiful Pia Wurtzbach!

My 65th Miss Universe Hot Picks #1 – Pre-Preliminary Competition

mariam-habach-no-1-for-paddylast-incs-first-hot-picksThe 65th Miss Universe fever is finally on full swing and the delegates from around the globe are trying  to out-stage each other while trying to play nice! Hah! Just this week, we’ve witnessed the Terno Fashion Show from some of the ladies who graced the beautiful historic Vigan to showcase the beautiful ternos created by Filipino designers. Then there’s was the Governor’s Ball, Their photoshoots from different historic sites in the metro as well as visits in the beautiful Boracay Island, Cebu and Batangas. With more press releases, videos and photos available for fans and pundits, let me present to you my first hot picks for this Manila edition of the Miss Universe beauty pageant!

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  1. Mariam Habach of Venezuela

At this stage of the competition, Miss Venezuela for me is the most ready to become the new queen – charisma and performance-wise. Her simplicity and unconventional beauty is refreshing from the usual brunette-filled Venezuelan delegates sent by their great national director Osmel Sousa to this pageant. Her posture and contagious smile is a thing of beauty that you can’t help but fall for her. Mariam came prepared to battle it out to the finish here in Manila!

  1. Maxine Medina of the Philippines

Admit it or not, Miss Philippines’ beauty is a beauty that is very hard to ignore. She exudes confidence and a hint of mystery whenever she struck a pose – until she opens her mouth that is, as per pageant pundits’ usual criticism. To be fair tho, I think we’re too critical of Maxine because we’re comparing her to Pia and whether or not she’ll be able to carry on the latter’s legacy. I still believe that there is a big fat chance for the host-nation to snag a back-to-back win equating Venezuela’s record back in 2008-2009. After all, Maxine has the hometown advantage and with a smooth performance, albeit, a most probably less than confident answers in the Q&A round – she could probably pull it off.

  1. Raissa Santana of Brazil

This Amazonian goddess is everywhere! Like literally every event! She’s such a stand out that you can’t help but be mesmerize by her modelesque bone structure and captivating smile! I’m only placing her as my third pick for the crown at this point because I’m still not sold with her overall presentation. It’s too finesse for me and I want her to be more vibrant and more natural!

  1. Kiran Jassal of Malaysia

Miss Malaysia may not be getting much hype compared to her ASEAN counterparts such as Thailand, Indonesia, and her roomie Miss Philippines but she’s definitely someone to watch out for. She’s a real stunner in pictures and in motion and it may look like she’s playing it under the radar for now but come preliminaries, I’ve a feeling that she’ll be in everyone’s list afterwards. I actually think that she’s way better than Deborah Henry – the most prominent Malaysian delegate in memories who got snubbed during the 2011 edition of the pageant. Like Deborah, she’s got an amazing personality, stunning looks (way better than Miss Henry, IMHO) and good communication skills to boot. Will her sash prevent her from entering the top 16? I hope not.

  1. Chalita Suansane of Thailand

Chalita is definitely a force to reckon with in the Manila edition of the pageant. She came prepared and ready to fight it out like Miss Venezuela and the other three in my top 5! She’s by far my ‘ultimate spoiler’ for the crown! She’s very polished, though not the prettiest candidate, she’s one scene-stealer that has a very likable personality to boot!

  1. Andrea Tovar of Colombia

Andrea Tovar is no Adriana Gutierrez. The latter is personable whilst Andrea has this superior air about her. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to project but at times, it’s almost as if she’s already won the crown when in fact she hasn’t even step up her game performance-wise. I was expecting more from her and so far she’s giving me such lackluster performance that I’m relegating her to 6th place. Why is she still in the top 10 despite non-personable aura I’ve mentioned? Well, she’s Miss Colombia and Miss Universe loves their controversy. She’s a definite shoo-in for the semis plus her beauty is truly undeniable that truly separates her from others. Thing is, she really needs to work the crowd. After all, nobody wants a villain queen.

  1. Deshauna Barber of the USA

Facially, Deshauna Barber isn’t the most conventionally beautiful delegate in the bunch but her background as US military and her subpar communication skills matching her vibrant personality makes her the most interesting girl to talk and listen to which I think is a big plus for whoever will win the Miss Universe crown!

  1. Kezia Warouw of Indonesia

Indonesia is up for the country of the year in 2016 and a win here will cement their newfound status last year. It’s not an impossible feat because the reigning Indonesian queen is a breathtaking beauty that is both relatable and personable! I am still waiting for her spark to go full on but I’ve a feeling that she will deliver when it matters most.

  1. Hawa Kamara of Sierra Leone

This debuting lass from the West African nation of Sierra Leone is already endearing a lot of pageant fans around the world as she struts with her natural hair on flick, she’s definitely stealing the spotlight from the more hyped candidates. She’s also very dear to Filipino pageant fans as the OFW’s and local fans helped her preparation for the pageant which include her flight to Manila as well as her wardrobe for the duration of Miss Universe. And she didn’t disappoint so far as she is both luminous in pictures and in motion. I’m not sure if Miss Universe is ready to crown another African queen after Leila Lopes’ victory in Brazil but if Sierra Leone delivers the goods come finals night, I’m pretty sure that everyone will be celebrating with her win!

  1. Caris Tiivel of Australia

It’s very simple how Miss Australia landed as my 10th pick. She’s the prototype of the Miss Universe Australia in recent years and I can totally see her eclipsing some of the powerhouse Latinas to make it all the way into the top 5. She’s beautiful, a good communicator and very polished. Although I haven’t envisioned her winning just yet, I’ve a feeling that if she step it up in the prelims – there’s a big possibility of that happening.

Bubbling Up…

  1. Stephanie Geldhof of Belgium
  2. Kristal Silva of Mexico
  3. Sal Garcia of Dominican Republic
  4. Camila Barraza of Kosovo
  5. Jaime-Lee Faulkner of Great Britain
  6. Le Hang of Vietnam

Sign The Petition Now! Say NO to Nickelodeon’s Underwater Theme Park in Coron, Palawan! #coronisnotbikinibottom

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We call on the Local Government of Palawan, Nickelodeon (Viacom International Media Networks), and Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc., to junk their plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan.

Why is this important?

Contrary to the press statement that the underwater theme park would “advocate ocean protection,” it will accomplish the exact opposite. By building artificial structures, you will undeniably damage and disrupt Palawan’s marine ecosystems — our Last Frontier. If you are sincere and serious about marine conservation, the money allocated for the underwater theme park should be invested in marine protected areas, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and environmental education programs.

For a channel that targets children, Nickelodeon is setting a terrible example to the younger generation by taking away their right to enjoy our natural resources. We don’t need an underwater theme park — our underwater life is fascinating, entertaining, and educational on its own.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PEITION!
https://www.bataris.org.ph/petitions/no-to-nickelodeon-s-underwater-theme-park-in-palawan

She’s got this… Only if you turn out to VOTE! #ImWithHer

Hillary Clinton, all smiles while chatting with Bill and President Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention this year [photo by Barbara Kinney]

Hillary Clinton, all smiles while chatting with Bill and President Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention this year [photo by Barbara Kinney]

VOTE! 
On November 8th
Let’s write the next chapter together!
#StrongerTogether

Thank You from the victims of Pulse #OrlandoStrong #WeAreOrlando #ForThe49

for-the-49

“In total, Equality Florida raised over $9M USD for victim relief following the horrific tragedy at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016.

Those funds will be disbursed to the victims on September 27. This video is to thank all those who gave and to all those who believe love conquers hate.

To stay involved in Equality Florida’s ongoing efforts to make Florida a safer, more inclusive place to live for all, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/forthe49

Hillary Makes History

Former First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was announced last night as the 2016 Democratic nomination, becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.

Hillary Clinton

#ImWithHer and you should be too.