Scattered boos erupted in the crowd at Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Milwaukee when the moderators brought up Clinton ally Madeleine Albright’s controversial “special place in Hell” quote that sent the Clinton campaign into a tailspin in New Hampshire.
In her answer, Clinton declined to distance herself from the divisive statement, or to rebuke her ally, Albright.
The PBS debate, moderated by Gwen Ifill and Clinton Foundation donor Judy Woodruff, started slow but picked up when Albright’s divisive quote was brought up. Albright infamously said on stage in New Hampshire that “There’s a special place in Hell” for women who don’t support female candidate Hillary Clinton.
“She’s been saying that for as long as I’ve known her, which is about 25 years,” Clinton said. “We have to empower everyone, women and men, to make the best decisions they can make.”
Clinton said that “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.”
“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, Clinton added.
Clinton noted that for the first time at a primary debate “We’ve had a majority of women on the stage.” Clinton was counting the two female moderators and herself, and putting male Bernie Sanders in the minority.
Sanders scored some audience reaction when Clinton said that she will have the clout, once she’s in the White House, to pay for her $100-billion- a-year health care plan by taxing the wealthy.
“Secretary Clinton, you’re not in the White House yet,” Sanders snapped back.
Both candidates made overtures to the black community ahead of the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary, which will be decided by the black vote. Clinton brought up the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee, but she stumbled slightly over Hamilton’s name.