One week after former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sparked controversy with pro–Hillary Clinton comments at a rally — harkening back to her "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women" line — the comment came up again at Thursday night's debate. After talking about her record as a feminist and adding that she has "no argument with anyone making up her mind who to support," PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff asked Clinton to respond to Albright's comments. "Your strong supporter, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, said there's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women. Do you agree with what she said?" Woodruff asked.
Clinton smiled, nodded, and noted that Albright has been making that same statement for about 25 years. "But it doesn't change my view that we need to empower everyone — women and men — to make the best decisions in their minds they can make," said Clinton. She added, "When it comes to the issues that are really on the frontlines, to whether we're going to have equal pay, paid family leave, some opportunity for women to go as far as their hard work and talent takes them, I think we still have some barriers to knock down. Which is why that's at the core of my campaign." Last weekend, the world collectively cringed when 78-year-old former Secretary Albright spoke at a pro-Clinton rally and said, "We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it's done. It's not done. There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other!" This was shortly after Gloria Steinem made a comment on Real Time with Bill Maher that implied young women are pro–Bernie Sanders because they want attention from boys.
On Thursday night, Clinton couldn't end her response without giving a mild shoutout to progress. "I would note, just for a historic aside, somebody told me earlier today that we've had, like, 200 presidential primary debates, and this is the first time there's been a majority of women on the stage. So we'll take our progress wherever we can find it."