(CNSNews.com) - "Do you support equal pay for women?" NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina on Wednesday, the same day Hillary Clinton campaigned in South Carolina on a promise of "equal pay."
"Of course I support equal pay for equal work," Fiorina replied. "And that's why in 1963, when a law was passed guaranteeing that if a woman is being discriminated against in the work force purely because of her gender, she should take every advantage of the law.
"But I also know this -- a seniority system, which exists in the federal government, that allows a man to watch pornography all day long in the federal government and earn the same pay, pension, and benefits as a woman sitting next to him trying to do a good job, that is not equal pay for equal work. And the seniority system, and the federal government that promotes that seniority system, and the unions as well, they're not willing to talk about that.
"So before a federal government or Hillary Clinton, who by her own measures is not paying women equally in her own office, nor is President Obama, before they lecture others, maybe they ought to look into their own offices or look into the seniority system in the federal government."
Mitchell asked Fiorina if she thinks the Republican National Committee is discriminating against her by "trying to keep you, and others who haven't run before" out of the first Republican primary debate.
"Why do you assume I'm going to be kept out?" Fiorina asked. "The debates are not for another 11 weeks. I'm actually glad to have a goal. I'm glad to have clarity about what it take to get to that stage. And I will work very hard to meet the goal."
Fox News and Facebook, hosts of the first GOP debate in August, say participation will be limited to the candidates who "place in "place in the top 10 of an average of the five most recent national polls, as recognized by Fox News."
At least 15 people are contending for a place on the stage, the Associated Press reported.
Speaking in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton said "too many women still earn less than men on the job. And women of color often make even less."
She also invoked "the motherhood penalty," referring to women who take a pay cut when they have children.
"Now, we could fix this if Republicans would get on board. We, in fact, could fix this today, but they won't. In fact, one Republican candidate for president dismissed equal pay as a, quote, 'bogus' issue. Another said Congress was, quote, 'wasting time worrying about it.' One even said that efforts to guarantee fair pay reminded him of the Soviet Union.
"And to that, I say, what century are they living in?"
Clinton said equal pay is "not a women's issue, this is a fammily issue and an American economic issue."
She wants to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to help women "fight discrimination at work." She wants to "promote pay transparency" so everyone knows what everyone else is earning. And she wants to raise the minimum wage and "make it easier also for more women to enter higher-paying fields like science and engineering and technology."