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Politics

Hillary Clinton knows what it’s like when the babysitter cancels

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton speaks at a fundraising breakfast April 29 in New York.

(Peter Foley / European Pressphoto Agency)

Hillary Clinton frequently mentions on the campaign trail she is a grandmother and presents herself as someone who would be a history-maker should she be elected Nov. 8 as the first female president of the United States. Clinton said Wednesday that if, as expected, she faces Donald Trump in a general election, she will make clear she has a better understanding of policies affecting women — from paid family leave to child care issues — while avoiding a response to any personal attacks he might make about her gender.

The comments came as Clinton spoke by phone with the Los Angeles Times editorial board and newsroom editors Wednesday, just as it was clear Trump was the only Republican left standing in her rival party’s race to the GOP nomination.

During the nearly hourlong conversation, Clinton said she would continue to defend women like Fox News' Megyn Kelly and even Republican Carly Fiorina against Trump’s comments. She also again criticized Trump's suggestion she is using the "woman’s card" to win votes. It was a stark difference from her first bid for the Democratic nomination, when Clinton shied away from overtly mentioning her womanhood.  

Listen to her full responses, and read a lightly edited transcript of the conversation as it relates to women in politics. 

L.A. Times: What are the experiences as a woman that have shaped you that might affect the kind of president you would be?

Hillary Clinton: One of the reasons why I’m such an advocate for women’s rights here at home and around the world is obviously I’m a woman. I have experience, or have certainly had first-hand connection, with people who have been left out, left behind, discriminated against, and it’s part of what motivates me.

I grew up in a period where there were schools I couldn’t go to, scholarships I couldn’t apply for, jobs I wasn’t welcome at. And so I have a lived experience as a woman coming of age in our country after World War II, who both saw what was limiting about that status, but also saw and participated in a lot of the changes that have made a very big difference, and I still think there’s still work to be done.

I know what it’s like to be at home with a sick baby and a babysitter who calls in sick as well, and I’m supposed to be at court at 9 o’clock in the morning and I’m just frantically trying to scramble around to get some sort of help. So I know these kinds of issues from the inside out, and I think bringing those kind of experiences to the White House, bringing it the world stage will be a big net plus for our country.

L.A. Times: How do you run as a woman against Donald Trump, given the type of things he said.... How do you anticipate this moving forward, particularly given that he seems to have no bounds when discussing women?  

Clinton: The whole idea of "playing the woman card," which he charged I was doing, and by extension other women were doing, has just lit a fire under so many women across the country. And I think it’s because they see his attacks on me, or Megyn Kelly or Carly Fiorina or whoever else he’s attacking at the moment as really a much broader attack on them. I think we are going to be pushing back and drawing the contrast whenever he does that. Because it’s just absolutely beyond the pale. He’s not going to get away with it, at least going forward.

L.A. Times: Why do you think young female celebrities like Lena Dunham and Chloe Moretz have identified with you, and how have they helped your campaign?

Clinton: I think they understand, maybe because of the business they’re in, that we still have work to do to achieve a goal of women’s equality in our society and our economy. I’m proud to have their help.

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L.A. Times: Do you think Hollywood should be more diverse when it comes to women and minorities?

Clinton: Oh, of course. I think all of America should be. I hope that we will be able to make even more progress in moving in that direction. And I certainly am trying to run a campaign and I intend to run an administration that is very diverse, very inclusive and sends a message that we are stronger because of our diversity.

L.A. Times: What advice do you have specifically for women in leadership?

Clinton: If I was going to say one thing, I would say just be as well prepared as you possibly can be. It’s okay to take criticism seriously, but never take it personally. Stand up for yourself and stand up for other women who are also charting the way forward.

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