While playing up her historic nomination has not always worked for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, women’s issues were front and center as Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren stumped for her party’s nominee and Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty in Philadelphia Friday afternoon.
Warren warmed up the crowd at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, saying she was there “for two tough, smart women with Pennsylvania roots and Pennsylvania values: Hillary and Katie.”
In fact, she repeated the “tough, smart women” line two more times.
Before that, McGinty urged the crowd to take advantage of the “two-for-one deal” being offered to Pennsylvania voters this November: the chance to elect the first woman president and the state’s first female U.S. senator.
During her roughly half hour speech, Warren addressed economic issues and played to the university crowd by talking about the need to relieve the heavy burden of student loan debt. She also slammed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and McGinty’s rival, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey on women’s issues, such as federal funding for Planned Parenthood and equal pay for women.
However, the decision to emphasize the historic nature of a Clinton win has not come without controversy on the campaign trail. Trump has accused her of “playing the woman card” and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has apologized for using her trademark phrase “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” during a Clinton campaign event.
Many in Clinton’s own demographic of white women have struggled to support her, and young voters have rejected the idea of voting for her because of her gender.
British exchange student A.J. Siva was in the crowd for Warren’s speech and said she knows people who feel that way.
“I can understand that because it’s 2016 and it shouldn’t be such a big deal to vote for someone because they’re a woman, but unfortunately global society doesn’t necessarily reflect that,” Siva said. “We don’t have equality in all industries, especially in the political world.”
While she can’t vote in November, Siva is urging her American friends to vote for Clinton in hopes a win would get more women to run for office around the world.
The tone of Friday’s event was refreshing, said Julie Hirsch Waxman of Philadelphia, who said she came of age during the women’s rights movement in the 1960s and thinks Clinton’s potential to become the first woman president should be celebrated. Waxman was recently speaking to a friend, a Republican woman, who admitted she finds Clinton “aggressive.”
“I said, ‘If she was a man would you say the same thing?’ And she said, ‘No, I wouldn’t,'” said Waxman. “People are looking at her with a different eye because she’s a woman, and if she does things that a man does it is looked at as inappropriate, aggressive.”