CONCORD, N.H. -- One of Arnie Arnesen's cherished possessions is a photo she keeps of feminist icon Gloria Steinem standing on a chair and speaking on her behalf at a fundraiser back when Arnesen was New Hampshire's Democratic nominee for governor.

It was 1992 -- now remembered as the "year of the woman," because so many were breaking down barriers and running for office -- and Arnesen was part of the vanguard.

These days, however, Arnesen is furious with her idol, and has a deeper concern about the tone that the presidential race has taken on, even as the prospect of a woman in the Oval Office seems nearer than it has ever been.

I'm crushed by this," said Arnesen, who hosts a talk radio show and who has not endorsed a candidate in the Democratic primary.  "In some ways, Hillary is bringing the worst out of the women I admire, and Gloria Steinem is one of them."

The gender question was enflamed over the weekend, after Steinem and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, both supporters of Hillary Clinton, made statements upbraiding women who are not.

At a rally in New Hampshire, Albright delivered a line she has often used in the past, but one that was jarring in the context of a hard-fought party primary: "There's a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

Separately, in an appearance on "Real Time" Steinem speculated that younger women are supporting Sanders because "when you're young, you're thinking, 'Where are the boys?' The boys are with Bernie." Steinem has since apologized.

Unlike in Iowa, where Clinton won women by 11 percentage points, she is struggling here. A new CNN-WMUR survey here showed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont beating her among women by eight points.

One reason Clinton is doing poorly with women in New Hampshire, more so than in Iowa, is that people here are accustomed to women holding public office at every level.

"We've elected the good, the bad, the ugly of women," Arnesen said. "We've seen them in every level of leadership. We've seen some produce and some disappoint."

She added: "The presidency is the gold ring. I get it. The most important thing is it's got to be the right person."