An advisor to GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty came under fire this week for suggesting in an interview that rival Michele Bachmann had "sex appeal" and would be tough to beat in the Iowa caucuses. After his comment went public, the advisor immediately issued an apology for being "disrespectful" to Bachmann.
So what was her reaction? She took the whole thing in stride. In fact, it seems like she even enjoyed the compliment.
On the Scott Hennen radio show, Bachmann said she's laughing off the comment:
Listen, I’m 55 years old. I’ve given birth to five kids and I’ve raised 23 foster kids ... So that sounds like good news to me.
I've written before about sexist comments on the campaign trail, and this example is no exception. Referring to a candidate's "sex appeal" -- regardless of their gender -- is sexist and inappropriate and distracts from our ultimate goal of choosing the best leader for the job based on ideology, intelligence, and qualifications.
But I'd rather ignore the initial rude comment and focus instead on Bachmann's handling of it -- and in this case, I'd say she handled it with class. It's not the candiates' responsibility to police the campaign for sexism or other offenses -- that's our job as voters, journalists, and bloggers! And Bachmann did exactly what she should have done in response to this rude comment -- refused to make it a big issue and changed the subject so she could talk about her message.
Now, in a perfect world, she'd have found a clever way to talk about her policy and/or experience in addition to her role as a parent. But we're still very early in the campaign and likely there will be plenty of opportunities for Bachmann to perfect her reaction to stupid sexist comments such as these.
Image via Fibonacci Baci/Flickr