Hillary Clinton, speaking candidly during an online fund-raiser Monday, counseled Kamala Harris to modulate her responses during her upcoming debate with Vice President Mike Pence to avoid a sexist double standard that portrays strong female leaders as frightening.
Mrs. Clinton, who lost the 2016 election despite posting strong debate performances against Donald J. Trump, warned Ms. Harris that Mr. Pence would try to undermine her without bombast.
Pence will somehow, subtly undercut Kamala you know, he will try to say, Well, thats not the way its done, Mrs. Clinton said, adding that Mr. Pence would seek to use the debate, scheduled for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah, to put her in the box of, you know, the inexperienced woman candidate.
She has to modulate her responses because we know there still is a double standard, alive and well when it comes to women in politics, Mrs. Clinton added, so shes got to be firm and effective in rebutting any implication that comes from the other side but do it in a way that doesnt scare or alienate voters.
Mondays online event, which attracted 100,000 viewers and raised an estimated $6 million in small donations, featured not only Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Harris but their two best-known celebrity doppelgngers, the former Saturday Night Live cast members Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.
At times, the discussion resembled an informal conversation between four friends, with Mrs. Clinton saying she has used the forced confinement of the pandemic to spend time with her grandchildren and to catch up on decades of sleep deprivation. Ms. Harris said that her family had been cooking a lot more, and binge-watching Marvel movies, at least before she was picked as Mr. Bidens running mate.
At one point, Ms. Poehlers microphone went dead, and the three other participants chatted among themselves as Mr. Bidens team scrambled to figure out what had gone wrong.
Somebody unmute Amy! Mrs. Clinton said.
I smell sabotage, joked Ms. Rudolph.
You never know what is really going on these days, Mrs. Clinton said. Maybe, she added later, its the Russians.