"Undiplomatic moment"

Madeleine Albright responds to firestorm over “hell” comment

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(Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for Fortune Magazine)

“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.” Those sobering and amusingly ironic words begin the mea culpa by Madeleine Albright, the first woman secretary of state in U.S. history, that takes the form of a New York Times Op-Ed. In the piece, she addresses the explosive response to a particular remark she made last weekend while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. It’s a remark, she notes, that she’s made countless times in her many speaking engagements over the last 25 years, and it has always been met with applause: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

But not this time, simply because of the context, the former secretary of state admits. Albright expresses surprise at how quickly the remark went viral this time around, and notes that since she left public office about 15 years ago, she’s dedicated her life to making sure the women of today face fewer obstacles than those of her own generation.

“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 writes in the piece. “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.”

But, Albright — who amusingly refers to herself as an “aging feminist” — writes, “The battle for gender equality is still being waged,” and so she goes on to once again make her case, undoubtedly a compelling one, for why young women should support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

Read the full Op-Ed at The New York Times.

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