The Quest To Become Ms. President

Marcia Kane gets a mammogram.
CBS
There is a new woman chancellor in Germany, a woman president in Liberia and also in Chile, but when it comes to the United States, the only female Commander in Chief is the one Gina Davis plays on television.

So why is a woman in the White House still just the stuff of Hollywood, asks CBS Sunday Morning contributor Rita Braver?

"We have a cultural issue about the masculinity of the presidency. I mean, it's a guys game. So you really have to work at it," says Marie Wilson.

Wilson runs The White House Project, a non-partisan organization dedicated to encouraging and training women to run for all types of public office, especially the big one.

"We ought to have lots of women running. When three or four women run, you've got to pay attention to their agenda," Wilson says.

Clearly, the buzz over a woman president focuses on Demcoratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is the only woman considered likely to run in 2008.

There's also growing pressure on the Republican side for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to enter the race, even though she insists she's not interested.

Wilson is optimistic about the chances of a woman appearing on one of the presidential tickets in two years.

"It's gonna happen and it could happen in 2008," she says.

But the truth is that at every level in American politics, women are still much more reluctant to put themselves out there than men are.

Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, points to former Senator John Edwards, the Democrat's 2004 Vice Presidential nominee, who is rumored for a White House run in 2008. Before he ran for Senate in North Carolina, he was a trial lawyer.

"I think men are more likely to kinda just jump in there and say, you know, I can do this. It's not rocket science and I'll figure out what I don't know when I get there," says Walsh.

Referring to Edwards, Walsh says, "You know, here's a guy who had never held elective office before in his life and the first thing he decides to do is run for the United States Senate. There are very few women out there who would make the decision the first time out to run for the United States Senate."