Video surfaced over the weekend of retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin commenting on the looks of Republican Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, saying she is “really attractive” and “nice.” But, Harkin continued, “Well, I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.”
Commenting on a female candidate’s looks is a political no-no, especially for the party that created the “war on women” meme.
Even Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” found the comments beyond the pale. “If a Republican said that, it would be over,” she said, agreeing with her co-host Joe Scarborough.
Carol Lee of The Wall Street Journal agreed that Harkin’s comments could backfire. “If there’s one thing that any politician — especially a seasoned one like Harkin — should know, is you don’t talk about a woman’s looks that way,” she said.
Mika asked, “Could you imagine a female candidate saying that about a male … I can’t. It just wouldn’t happen.”
Polls have been trending favorably for Ernst, but a new Quinnipiac poll shows it to be a dead heat at 47-47. However, the Des Moines Register poll, historically the gold standard for the state, shows Ernst leading by 7, 51-44.