Hillary Clinton Takes On Trump

One of the biggest challenges of being widely seen as a future presidential nominee is knowing who to take on, and when. Should Hillary Clinton directly address the challenge posed by up-and-coming contender Bernie Sanders, who now leads her in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire? Or should she avoid granting him the acknowedgement, and keep her critical comments to the Republican side of things? On Saturday morning, she pretty clearly opted for the latter — Hillary Clinton responded to Donald Trump in a speech in New Hampshire, and her criticism of his sexist behavior towards women was pretty spot-on.

She was speaking at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention, and she spared no expense in rebuking the Repubican frontrunner for some of those, shall we say, uncomfortable moments regarding women that have popped up throughout his campaign.

This stuff isn't a one-off in any sense, but a clear, recurring theme — his condescending rudeness to NBC News' Katy Tur, his boorish behavior towards Fox News' Megyn Kelly, his juvenile insullt directed at Carly Fiorina's appearance, and all the other reports and allegations of abusive, sexist language he's used through the years. Here's how Clinton responded, according to the Washington Post.

Why don’t you stop cherishing women and start respecting women?
Scott Eisen/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The line was a reference to something Trump said in the aftermath of the first GOP debate, yet another one of those "did he really just say that" moments. Embroiled in a one-sided fued with Kelly, who'd moderated the debate along with Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, Trump commented that she looked like she had "blood coming out of her wherever," a remark widely interpreted as a crude joke about menstruation. Trump denied this, calling anybody who'd interpret it that way was a "deviant," and even further, claimed the following: "I cherish women."

Clinton's line, simple as it is, is a very effective, summary rebuke of Trump's apparent go-to method when he's made a sexist or misogynistic remark — basically, she's demanding less chauvanistic, make-good patter, and more respect that's evidenced by behavior.

Trump actually attempted a very similar sleight of hand during the CNN debate on Wednesday night, when he was called out for mocking Carly Fiorina's looks. Rather than apologize straightforwadly (he never seems to do that), or even concede that he spoke flippantly and shouldn't have said it, he jumped straight into an uncomfortable, overly familiar physical compliment.

I think she’s got a beautiful face, and I think she’s a beautiful woman.

In the event that you weren't willing to watch to the end of that video, I'll spoil the surprise — Fiorina did not look especially charmed by the "compliment."

Make no mistake, this is the kind of territory that'll be a ripe contrast if Clinton and Trump ultimately secure their parties' nominations. In fact, the thought of being one of the world's most recognizable and accomplished women, and having an inflammatory, unpolished persona like Trump to contend with is probably a pretty enticing idea. You can hardy blame Clinton for wanting to shine a little light on him, especially when he makes it this easy.