Introducing Hillary Clinton at a New Hampshire rally ahead of the primary last week, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the crowd that ‘there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” The comment was meant to shame female voters into supporting Clinton over Sanders. In the end, however, it seems to have backfired, as 55 percent of female voters in the Granite State chose Sanders, according to NBC News. The reality was even worse among millennials, with 82 percent of women under 30 supporting the Vermont senator.
Thus, it wasn’t surprising to see Albright attempt to clarify her remarks in the pages of The New York Times days later, admitting that the campaign event probably wasn’t the best time to utter the phrase she’s used ‘a thousand times’ before.
“I have spent much of my career as a diplomat. It is an occupation in which words and context matter a great deal. So one might assume I know better than to tell a large number of women to go to hell,” she wrote.
“I absolutely believe what I said, that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line,” she continued. “I did not mean to argue that women should support a particular candidate based solely on gender. But I understand that I came across as condemning those who disagree with my political preferences. If heaven were open only to those who agreed on politics, I imagine it would be largely unoccupied.”
Clinton defended Albright’s comments during the Democratic debate last week in Milwaukee, saying that it’s been a refrain of hers for the last 25 years.
“Well, look I think that she’s been saying that for as long as I’ve known her," Clinton said, adding that “we have to empower everyone, women and men, to make the best decisions they can make.”
“I have spent my entire adult life to make sure that women are empowered to make decisions…even if that decision is not to vote for me,” she continued.
“I have no argument with anyone making up her mind about who to support…I hope that there will be a lot more [women] supporting me” by November, she said.