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Bernie Sanders’ Wife: Madeleine Albright’s Comments Were ‘Unfortunate and Disturbing’

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Dr. Jane Sanders weighed in on controversial comments made by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and feminist activist Gloria Steinem over the weekend that appeared to chastise young women for voting for her husband Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

On Saturday, Albright reminded women voters that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” a saying she has repeated often over the past four decades. But the comments were widely interpreted on social media as scolding young women who support Sanders instead of Clinton. In a HuffPost Live segment Wednesday, Dr. Sanders said she thought Albright’s comments were “unfortunate and disturbing.”

“I think that women today are a little bit more intelligent to not say, ‘Okay all I care about is gender,'” she said. “By that case, if Bernie won the Democratic nomination and Carly Fiorina won the Republican nomination, we should be supporting Carly Fiorina. We’re looking for the right candidate.”

Steinem also found herself in hot water last weekend after she told HBO’s Bill Maher that younger women were only supporting Sanders because “the boys are with Bernie.” Steinem, 81, has since apologized for those statements, which caused widespread offense among younger women. Dr. Sanders said the comment was a mistake but acknowledged Steinem’s apology.

“She apologized. I know that young people were offended by it, but it was a mistake,” Dr. Sanders said. “We know her life has been about equity for women and feminism. She made a mistake, she said so. I absolutely still respect her very much.”

Dr. Sanders went on to define “feminism” as “equal treatment,” and lauded young voters for sticking up for themselves. “What I like is that young people expect equal treatment and act as if they should be treated equally,” she said. “If they aren’t, they speak up. That wasn’t the case when I was younger.”

Sanders won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday by a large margin, with widespread support from young women and younger voters as a whole. Despite endorsements from Lena Dunham and Katy Perry, Clinton has struggled to gain the same traction among millennial women.


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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com