Carly Fiorina CPAC 2015
Conservatives rally against Hillary Clinton at CPAC
01:43 - Source: CNN
National Harbor, Maryland CNN  — 

Republicans know women will be crucial to winning the presidency – they’re just not clamoring for a woman to be in the White House.

Conservative women gathered here at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference bristled – sometimes vehemently – at the notion that nominating a woman is the party’s best shot at defeating Hillary Clinton.

“They don’t have emotional stability,” said Barbara Adams, 64, of New Orleans. “Look at Hurricane Katrina. We had a female governor and she f’d it up big time. So no.”

Marlena, an executive assistant from Miami who declined to share her last name, said she wants the “best candidate – male or female.”

“I’m not going to vote for a woman just because she’s a woman,” she said. “I’m for equal opportunity, all around.”

The conference, which attracts the GOP’s biggest stars, is dominated by conservative activists and isn’t necessarily indicative of the party’s broader views. But the insistence that gender is a non-factor is striking given the importance that the issue is already playing in the early stages of the 2016 contest.

READ: GOP White House contenders unite against Hillary Clinton

In a Silicon Valley speech this week, Clinton highlighted a vision focused on women and even applauded actress Patricia Arquette’s push for gender equality at the Oscars.