GOP congressman tells CNN anchor she is beautiful but wrong

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) had a confrontation with CNN's Carol Costello during an interview Thursday.
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

What is it with Republicans and women? During an interview about Obamacare and the government’s partial shutdown, a GOP congressman told a cable news anchorwoman that she was beautiful, but wrong.

It wasn’t exactly the kind of comment that a lawmaker would say to a male news anchor. Rep. Todd Rokita, of Indiana, had a confrontation with CNN’s Carol Costello during the Thursday interview and told her: “Carol, you’re beautiful but you need to be honest as well.” The video confrontation has made the rounds of some websites.

It is not unusual for men of a certain age (and many would argue that age isn’t really a factor in this kind of attitude) to find themselves bedazzled when dealing with women. Even President Obama fell into the trap when he called California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris “by far the best-looking attorney general.” The president, a Democrat, apologized and Harris, a fellow Democrat, gracefully accepted.


But the question of female support has been a problem for the GOP, as have complaints by progressives that the GOP demeans women. Democrats have repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a war on women because social conservatives oppose abortion rights.

Democrats have also been helped in their efforts to win over women by a series of miscues by Republicans on rape. Former Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, lost a 2012 Senate bid for saying that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy after a “legitimate rape.” In June, Rep. Trent Franks, of Arizona, apologized for saying the incidence of pregnancy from rape is very low. He also claimed his remarks were taken out of context.

It was amid this ongoing sparring that Rokita did his interview on CNN. The talking points were obvious for the Republican: sharply attack Obamacare, whose heath insurance exchanges began functioning this week; defend the GOP conservatives who have refused to pass funding authorizations unless the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is curtailed; and beat up the president for not negotiating on his signature domestic program.

“I don’t know if you have children yet, I’m sure you don’t have grandchildren yet, you look much too young, but we’re fighting for them,” Rokita said. “Carol, do you have any idea how much this law is going to cost?”

Costello sharply replied: “Do you know how much it costs every day the government is partially shut down? You’re costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars!”

Rokita insisted that Obamacare is “one of the most insidious laws ever developed by men” and will hurt the country “much more than any government shutdown.” Costello then pressed him on the upcoming debt ceiling fight, asking, “Obamacare hurts the country worse than [not] raising the debt ceiling? Because that’s not what a bunch of Wall Street bankers told the president yesterday.”

Rokita dismissed the idea that defaulting on the nation’s debt would be more harmful than Obamacare. “I had a lot of CEOs in my office yesterday, and they didn’t share the same vision with me that some CEOs apparently shared with the president,” he said.

“I think most Americans would say fight that fight separate from the federal budget. Don’t partially shut down the federal government, don’t make things worse by fighting the same fight over and over,” Costello retorted.

“No, you’re part of the problem,” Rokita said. Costello scoffed, “Ugh, come on. That’s so easy.”

“Carol, you’re beautiful but you need to be honest as well,” Rokita said.


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