Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being criticised by Republicans and some media outlets on Tuesday for not admonishing an audience member who told an off-colour joke about Carly Fiorina.
At a veterans’ event in New Hampshire, a man described to Clinton how he was one of many people laid off by Hewlett-Packard while Fiorina was CEO. Fiorina is now a Republican presidential candidate.
“She laid off over 40,000 people. And she says she’s a great CEO. Every time I see her on TV, I want to reach through and strangle her,” the man said as the audience laughed. “I know that doesn’t sound very nice.”
Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, laughed as well.
“I wouldn’t mess with you!” she exclaimed.
Conservatives widely seized the incident as an example of Democratic and media hypocrisy, arguing that it would have been a full-on scandal had a Republican candidate done the same.
“Let’s all watch @HillaryClinton’s media lapdogs explain why this is OK in 3, 2, 1….#whatbias,” Fiorina campaign spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Republican National Committee press secretary Allison Moore called for Clinton to immediately apologise.
“By laughing off a male questioner’s desire to strangle Carly Fiorina, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have lost all credibility claiming to be a party that stands up for women,” Moore said in a statement. “Jokes about committing acts of violence against women are always in poor taste and should be condemned every time.”
CNN’s Dan Merica reported that the Clinton campaign stressed that the man’s comment was a joke.
Pool followed up and Clinton didn’t engage. Nick Merrill, Clinton’s spox, said, “You were there. What was your take? It was a joke.”
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) November 10, 2015
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