Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is getting annoyed about her campaign turning into a referendum on her husband’s many sex scandals. At a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, a Republican state representative confronted Clinton about her husband former President Bill Clinton’s rape and sexual harassment victims. The representative heckled the candidate twice before Clinton became annoyed and told her she was rude. The public and her Republicans opponents have been bringing up her husband’s infidelities and sex scandals as the campaign goes into the primaries stage and Bill gears up to hit the campaign trail.
The heckler at the town hall was Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien, “a GOP state representative from Rockingham,” with a history of heckling presidential candidates of either party and who has previously heckled Clinton. Prudhomme-O’Brien can be seen standing up screaming at Clinton twice looking for the candidate to respond to her remarks. All the public can hear is Clinton, who was the only one with a microphone, telling the women “You are very rude and I’m not never ever going to call on you… Thank you.”
Later CNN spoke with Prudhomme-O’Brien to find out what she said to Clinton to get her that angry, as she rarely lets remarks on the campaign trail get to her. Prudhomme-O’Brien recounted, “I asked her how in the world she can say that Juanita Broderick and Kathleen Wiley are lying when she has no idea who Juanita Broderick is. She told me this summer she doesn’t know who she is and doesn’t want to know who she is. How can she access that they are lying, which she told someone last month?” The New Hampshire representative is a rape victim herself, and is concerned about constituents that have been victims, and what she deems Clinton’s contradictory message on rape.
Clinton has made women’s issues a central point of her campaign. One aspect central to Hillary Clinton’s women’s agenda is “confront violence against women,” advocating for rape victims. On the campaign trail, Clinton has espoused that all rape victims “have the right to be believed.” Clinton made sexual assault a forefront issue of her campaign in September. She gave two speeches at Iowa colleges in time for back to school discussing the problem of assaults on campus, “outlin[ing] her plan to combat sexual assault.” Speaking in Iowa, this past fall Clinton said, “Today I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault. Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed and we’re with you.”
Prudhomme-O’Brien finds Clinton’s position on rape hypocritical, “She says that rape victims should be believed. I agree with her, that is true, they should be believed and we should assess what they are saying, she doesn’t even what to access it.” The hypocrisy is, even more, blatant because of Clinton ‘s husband, Bill’s sex scandals and treatment of women while president and Hillary attacking the credibility of every woman who accused the former president or had been voluntarily involved with him. The New Hampshire representative said, “I was a Democrat, but I became a Republican because of this, because of this stuff. Because of what I saw happen in the Clinton years, the hypocrisy of so-called women who fight for women.”
This is the second high-profile case of a woman in the audience confronting Hillary about her husband’s sex scandals and accusations of impropriety in a matter of a month. At the women’s economic forum in Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, a female voter shakily asked Clinton; “Secretary Clinton, you recently came out to say that all rape victims should be believed, but would you say that about Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and/or Paula Jones? Should we believe them, as well?”
Clinton visibly embarrassed, tried to keep it professional and she did not let her personal feelings about the question and the voter get in her way. Clinton gave a very generic answer that subtly implied they could not be believed now after the court of public opinion has judged them. Clinton responded with a strained smile, “Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.”
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s is also attacking former President Clinton’s sex scandals in response to Hillary accusing him of having a “penchant for sexism.” On Tuesday morning, Dec. 29, Trump told NBC’s Today show that Bill Clinton’s infidelities and sex scandals are “fair game.” Trump said, “Well, if you look at the different situations; of course, we can name many of them. I can get you a list and I’ll have it sent to your office in two seconds. But there were certainly a lot of abuse of women, and you look at whether it’s Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them.” More recently, Trump called the former president “one of the great abusers of the world.”
Clinton’s main Democratic opponent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN he will not be attacking the former president’s past sexual indiscretions. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Jan. 3 Sanders told host Dana Bash, he does not think Clinton’s sex scandals are “fair game.” Sanders said, “No, I think we’ve got more important things to worry about in this country than Bill Clinton’s sex life.”
Former President Bill Clinton is taking on an active role in his wife’s campaign. He begins solo campaigning on her behalf on Monday, Jan. 4 when he makes two appearances in the very important early primary state of New Hampshire. Clinton will be speaking at two campaign events in Nashua and Exeter. According to the Clinton campaign, “He will discuss how Hillary Clinton will make a difference for families in the Granite State and across the country.” Hillary has referred to Bill as her “not-so-secret weapon,” but his scandals haunt her, and his remarks on the campaign trail in 2008 did Hillary more harm than good.