Hillary Clinton elaborated today on why she rebuffed the Obama campaign’s request that she attack Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential race to blunt Palin’s appeal to women.
Clinton made her comments in an exclusive interview this morning on Good Morning America with ABC’s Robin Roberts after Palin cited Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” to suggest it was the Democrats “who fired the 1st shot in the real ‘war on women.’”
Clinton admitted she was asked by the Obama campaign to “go out and criticize” Palin when she was selected as John McCain’s running mate during the 2008 campaign, but she said, “‘For what? For being a woman? No let’s wait until we know where she stands. I don’t know anything about her, do you know anything about her?’ And nobody of course did.”
“I think it’s fair to say that I made it clear I’m not going to go attack somebody for being a woman or a man. I’m going to try and look at the issues, where they stand, what their experience is, what they intend to do and then that’s fair game,” Clinton said.
In responding to Palin’s tweet she tried to clarify saying, “That’s not exactly what I said.”
“What I said was that in beginning the process of working with Senator Obama after I ended my campaign, we had as I describe in the book, an awkward but necessary meeting to clear the air on a couple of issues and one of them was the sexism that unfortunately was present in that ’08 campaign,” Clinton said.
In Clinton’s book, she writes that she declined a request by the Obama campaign to attack Palin. “I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman appealing for support from other women. I didn’t think it made political sense, and it didn’t feel right. So I said no,” Clinton said in her book.
In response, Palin tweeted “Look who fired the 1st shot in the real ‘war on women’. Hint: it wasn’t the GOP. See this excerpt from Hillary’s book.”
Roberts also asked the potential 2016 presidential candidate about running for president as a woman now compared to in 2008.
“I think it’s different for women across the board because, not just in the political sphere that we continue to have these obstacles to women’s full participation. It’s true in the corporate sphere, in journalism, and academia, across the board. But I think that over the last six to seven years there has been a much greater awareness in the American public about the double standard.”
“So I really believe that there is a great discussion going on now and whether it’s somebody running for president or climbing the corporate ladder, or broadcasting or anything else, there is much greater awareness and that is all to the good,” she said.
In the final seconds of the interview, Clinton sat for a lightening round and revealed her favorite Republican in Congress: Sen. John McCain, Palin’s running mate in 2008.
“Despite my problems with him, John McCain because he and I have traveled a lot and we argue a lot and he goes off on somethings that I disagree with, but I admire him and I’ve spent a lot of time with him,” she said.
And in an answer that covers both sports and politics, Clinton weighed in on who she thinks will win game three of the NBA finals, the Miami Heat or the San Antonio Spurs.
“So you’ve got to go with Texas or Florida? That’s tough,” Roberts told Clinton, but there was no hesitation with Clinton naming the all important battleground of the Sunshine State.
“Florida,” she laughed. “When you pose it like that!”