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Madeleine Albright: There’s a ‘special place in heaven for women who help one another’

Madeleine Albright speaks at Running Start’s 10th annual Young Women to Watch Awards. (Erin Schaff for Running Start)

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright has a kinder, gentler version of a line she’s used for years that recently became mired in controversy when she employed it on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign: “There’s a special place in heaven for women who help one another,” she said during a speech at a dinner marking the 10th anniversary of Running Start, the bipartisan organization that trains women to run for public office.

Albright allowed that the use of her previous version of the saying, in which she mused that there’s a “special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” might have been just a bit ill-timed. “It might not have been diplomatic of me to talk about women going to hell,” she said.

Video: Madeline Albright: ‘Special place in hell for women who don’t help each other’

Of course, given the group she was honoring, she was talking to a bunch of people likely to earn some wings. Albright was a draw at the group’s Young W0men to Watch Awards held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Tuesday night, with aspiring future pols lined up to snap selfies with the senior stateswoman before a program that included remarks from lawmakers, including Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

One of the college-age participants who spoke at the event likened herself to Leslie Knope, the sunny protagonist of the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” who gabbed with the former top diplomat over breakfast during the show’s last season. “I just dream of having waffles with Madeleine Albright,” she said. “So I don’t know what you’re doing tomorrow…”

The organization, which toasted the training of 10,000 mostly young women on how to seek elected office, marked a decade of progress by breaking something of a glass ceiling itself. For the first time, two male lawmakers were chosen as the group’s congressional co-chairs. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) will serve alongside Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

“It’s the job of men, too,” Roby said of the group’s mission to boost female representation.