Of all the members of the Senate, the one you might expect to be least likely to call attention to a woman's single, childless status for purposes of scoring political points would be Boxer. And yet it was the oh-so-broadminded senator from the Bay Area who did just that when Condi Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to defend President Bush's newly-announced Iraq plans.In a segment narrated by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, today's Good Morning America highlighted Boxer's questionable comment, running a good-sized clip of the exchange.
Rice: "I can never do anything to replace any of the lost men and women in uniform, or the diplomats, some of whom . . . "
An interrupting Boxer: "Madame Secretary, please, I know you feel terrible about it; that's not the point. I was making the point about who pays the price for your decisions. Now the issue is who pays the price? Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand, with an immediate family."
Whoah! Tapper noted that the exchange "seemed to many people to get a bit personal" a view echoed by the "Tough Words" of the screen graphic.
Back in the studio, Diane Sawyer observed: "I want to go back to congresswoman [sic] Boxer, Jake, for a second and the Secretary of State. And by the way, we saw the Secretary of State's eyebrow just go up when that question came in. I know that congresswoman [sic] Boxer has felt some pressure. Any new word from her on what she meant?"
Tapper: "Well, Sen. Boxer's office says all that she meant to say was that Secretary of State Rice, just like Sen. Boxer, does not have any family members in the military. They say she was not trying to draw attention to the Secretary's personal life in any way."
Note: Boxer's dubious remark has attracted major media attention. But at least in its crucial first half-hour this morning, "Today" made no mention of Boxer's blow. Think the folks at NBC might have covered the comment had a Republican senator addressed it to a Dem woman in similar circumstances?
Hot Air has video of the GMA segment.
AP Going Victorian?: The Associated Press used this phrase to describe Boxer's slap: "Even Rice's status as a single woman was fair game." Single woman? In an age in which 30% of all children, and over 70% of black children, are born to single women, how oddly Victorian of the AP. Was this just a slip, or was AP reluctant to use the expression "Rice's status as a childless woman" because that would have cast Boxer in an even crueler light?Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org