Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Friday clarified remarks in support of Hillary Clinton that "there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other," saying she regretted the way it was perceived.
The line, used many times by Albright in the past, sparked a backlash from some women who said it was sexist and insulting to be told to choose a candidate based on her gender.
"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," Albright said in an op-ed published in the New York Times.
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"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," Albright wrote.
"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," Albright said in the op-ed.
Clinton at Thursday’s debate shrugged off Albright’s remark as one she has heard Albright say many times in the past. Clinton said she is running on her experience.
"I am not asking people to support me because I’m a woman; I’m asking people to support me because I think I’m the most qualified, experienced and ready person to be the president and the commander-in-chief," Clinton said at the PBS Newshour debate.
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In the op-ed, Albright repeated her call for women to support one another, noting the challenges women face, like being paid less for the same work, a lack of paid leave, and cultural hurdles in the business world and politics.
Famed feminist Gloria Steinem faces similar criticism after she suggested that young women were flocking to Bernie Sanders in order to meet men.
"When you're young, you're thinking: 'Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,'" she said in an interview with TV host Bill Maher.
Steinem later apologized.