According to the Kremlin, the Russian president was asked whether it would be worse to meet with Clinton than President Obama, given her remarks connecting the Russian invasion of Crimea to Hitler's maneuvers in Eastern Europe in the early 1930s. Here's how he started:
It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements."
From there, Putin added a little diplomatic cushioning:
Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement."
And then he went nuclear again:
When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman."
So what is the worst quality for a woman? We may never know. But if Putin's re-election spot has anything to do with it, the answer's not good.
In case you wondering, Putin's interviewer followed up with this: "Women must be respected, of course, and I’m sure you respect them."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.