Washington (CNN) - A heated political debate and charges of sexism erupted on Philadelphia talk radio Wednesday when Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, told Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, to "act like a lady."
Specter and Bachmann appeared on WPHT radio to discuss the what President Obama has accomplished in his first year in office. When Specter began to respond to Bachmann's claim that Scott Brown's special election victory in Massachusetts was a repudiation of the Obama administration's policies, Bachmann interjected - to the clear frustration of the longtime Senator.
"I didn't interrupt you," Specter said. "This is beginning to sound like a TV talk show."
When Bachmann interrupted again, Specter angrily responded. "Now wait a minute, I'll stop and you can talk," he said. "I'll treat you like a lady, so act like one."
"I am a lady," Bachmann retorted.
She again interrupted Specter later in the interview. And again, Specter told her to "act like a lady." Bachmann one more time confirmed that she is a lady.
"Well I think you are too, that's why I'm treating you like one," Specter said. "But just don't interrupt me."
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is hoping to defeat Specter this November if he survives a Democratic primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak, seized on the comment
"Instead of belittling his female colleagues, Arlen Specter should take his own advice and act like a gentleman," said NRSC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand. She said that the five-term Senator would be held accountable by women in his state "if he makes it to the General Election in November."
Calls to both the Specter and Bachmann press offices were not immediately returned.