Madeleine Albright, who spoke Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, says it’s “almost too hard to express” the excitement she feels over Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination.
Albright, the first female secretary of state, has been a fierce supporter of Clinton’s presidential campaign and told NPR’s Rachel Martin that she believes Clinton is the “perfect candidate and the best-prepared person to be president of the United States.”
In February, Albright was criticized for declaring at a Clinton campaign rally that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” She told Martin she regrets saying that phrase, which she has used often, in a political context.
Tuesday night, her remarks were less controversial, but the fellow Wellesley alumna (and fellow former secretary of state) gave a strong endorsement:
“She knows that safeguarding freedom and security is not like hosting a TV reality show. It is a complex, round-the-clock job that demands not only a steady hand and a cool head, but also a big heart. You are not just representing yourself; you are there for all of us. Hillary has displayed these qualities in every job she has ever had.”
Albright spoke about how Clinton can better engage with women, how she feels a Donald Trump victory would be welcomed by Vladimir Putin and what it means to have the first female nominee of a major U.S. political party.
On the historic moment
It’s almost too hard to express because we’ve been waiting for this. And she is the perfect candidate and the best-prepared person to be president of the United States. And she is remarkable and it is historic. And it’s so, so exciting for everybody.
On how Clinton can win over women
I think she has to talk more about the things that she plans, things that she’s done. But I think the rest of us have to help, because we know what in fact is her history and how hard she works. And all the things that she’s done to dedicate herself. And I don’t, you know, I think women have to make up their own minds. But the truth is that we have a candidate that is so dedicated to women’s issues and all questions to do with society and health. And she’s perfect. And so I hope people understand that.
On that “special place in hell”
What happened is people didn’t hear what I was really saying because I had turned to Hillary and said therefore you are going to the other place because of everything you’ve done for women. But by then people were applauding. And I had made that statement so many times and it’s so popular it was on Starbucks cups. But I shouldn’t have said it in a political context, because I would never vote for Sarah Palin or women that I disagree with.
On Albright and Clinton’s friendship
I’m prejudiced. I obviously am. I’ve known her for a very long time and I’ve seen her care about people. You know, we went to lots of meetings in fancy rooms but what was interesting was the way that she really listened to people. When we were abroad, for instance, she’d meet with women’s groups or we’d go to hospitals. And she really would listen to what people needed. She is a really good listener. And I think that’s not something you go and stand at a podium and say I’m listening to you, she has to express her views. But I think she is brilliant and … she’s not a diva at all. She works very hard. She doesn’t expect to have favors done for her. I think she’s a remarkable person and we’re very lucky that she’s put herself this way. And I so want to help her and to be able to explain to my friends and other women and men why she would be so terrific.
On Trump as a “gift” for Putin
(Editor’s note: This interview was recorded ahead of Trump’s comments that Russia should try to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.)
Putin deliberately wants to break up the European Union and NATO, as a very specific example. So when Putin all of a sudden says that he wanted to do that and then Trump in fact just last week talked about the fact that NATO — why would we support the Baltics? What is the basis of NATO? Why would we do that? That is almost as if Putin had written it. It’s crazy. And that’s the gift because Putin believes that the United States is really an enemy in some way. And some of the things that Trump is saying, I think, are a gift to Putin.