Generally speaking, jokes about a woman’s looks are never a good idea — especially if you are a U.S. Senate candidate whose every word is being filmed.
The whole “women’s issues” thing landed with a thump on Democratic Senate hopeful Richard Carmona’s campaign doorstep after a remark he made Thursday during a debate in Phoenix.
It all started with a tense moment in a debate Thursday between Carmona and Republican Jeff Flake, which was moderated by Brahm Resnik of 12 News in Phoenix. Resnik tried to bring some levity to the situation.
“Now, I know how Candy Crowley felt, geez,” said Resnik laughing, in reference to the female CNN moderator for this week’s Presidential debate.
“You’re prettier,” Carmona said.
“Not sure how to take that,” said Resnik.
The ill-timed intended compliment went viral, triggering backlash from Republicans who say it once again shows his lack of sensitivity to women.
Carmona acknowledged the gaffe on Friday, saying today in a statement: "I regret the remark, and I apologize."
But is apology hasn’t tamped down the buzz surrounding the video, which has spread from the omnipresent YouTube to social media a number of national websites.
The Republicans assert that it’s another demonstration of Carmona’s issues working with women.
“It was just latest example of a pattern of disrespect or worse on Carmona’s behalf for women,” said Tim Sifert, spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, about the remark Thursday.
The GOP already has been beating the drum that Carmona does not have the proper “temperament” to be a U.S. Senator, pointing to a run-in he had with his female boss while he was U.S. Surgeon General.
A TV ad is up that features Cristina Beato, former acting assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying Carmona has issues with anger, ethics and women. She alleges that while he worked under her when he was U.S. surgeon general, Carmona angrily banged on her door in the middle of the night.
Carmona vehemently denies the allegations, and says that Beato was a disgruntled person who has anger problems and other issues. He said he was cleared of any wrongdoing stemming from the incident at her house by a congressional committee. He has his own TV ad up featuring retired Pima County sheriff's SWAT Commander Kathleen Brennan vouching for his character and saying Flake should be ashamed" of the despicable ad.
Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.