January 21st, 2010
07:33 PM ET
4 years ago

Specter to Bachmann: 'Act like a lady'

Rep. Michele Bachmann was told to 'act like a lady' by Sen. Arlen Specter on Wednesday.
Rep. Michele Bachmann was told to 'act like a lady' by Sen. Arlen Specter on Wednesday.

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.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Extra • Michele Bachmann • Popular Posts
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Leigh

    I did not hear this particular radio debate, but I have heard others like it and, frankly, I am appalled. I have heard both sides of such a debate–Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal, whatever you want to call them–interrupt each other when one was attempting to speak.

    When I hear something like that between two "opponents" on an issue, I would like to ask the person interrupting, "What are you afraid they will say?" Because often that is exactly what it sounds like to me, and again, this would apply to BOTH sides of an argument.

    Whether Sen. Specter should have told Rep. Bachmann to act like a lady is debatable. It doesn't sound to me like she was. It sounds to me like she was either afraid of the point he was trying to make, and so sought to prevent him, or she was just being flat-out rude.

    January 21, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. WOW!

    If BIG MOUTH BACHMANN WANTS TO PLAY WITH THE BIG BOYS SHE BETTER GROW THICK SKIN AND QUIT THE SEXISM BS. Guess he should of told her " Didn't her parents teach her any manners"

    January 21, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. Fitz in Texas

    Oh, so many things could be said about Arlen Specter here, but why bother, everyone knows only a jerk would act like Arlen Specter............Michele Bachmann I heard the exchange and Michele Bachman you are a lady!!

    January 21, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Linna

    I think Specter meant to say, "loony" not "lady"...

    January 21, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Adam from Ohio

    Well ... Specter is old and a bit out of touch.

    Bachmann is a freaking nutcase. A loon. A screaming, lying, paranoid imbecile.

    Which would I rather have represent me?

    January 21, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. pbj

    good thing specter switched parties; as a democrat, he'll get a pass; if he were still a republican, he'd be blasted as a sexist pig and his comment would be used to condemn all republicans

    January 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Pat

    I think what Specter would have had to say in order to be totally truthful would have been "Try to behave sane." but he instead elected for the polite route and requested that she use manners. Sort of seems as though that blew over her head like everything else that makes sense.

    January 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  8. Lessie Cardinal

    With all due respect to CNN, this is not news. Senator Specter was simply asking for respect during the radioshow. People will take "act like a lady" as he is being disrespectful to women. I admit he should have chosen better words but people need to acknowledge he is from a different generation and terms like being "being lady like" and "being a gentleman" were commonly accepted terms for americans. The media will turn this into a political issue (which it is not) and american viewers will get their views from a 5 second clip and feel as if they are educated on Bachman or Spector. It is shameful behavior for americans to consume this and for the media to give it.

    January 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Act like an adult may have been more politically neutral, I am amazed to hear the Republican Party calling for PC behavior. I guess I am not sexist because I think Act like a Man and Act like a Lady are not insulting, but more a reflection of the Act like an adult while noticing the gender of the person I am speaking to.

    January 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. Jared

    I'm a Republican, and rude is rude. All this Jerry Springer politics is not professional. Allow someone to state their case and rebuff. Just because she's a woman, she doesn't get a free pass.

    January 21, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Roz Kelly

    I don't think his comment was rude. She was being rude by not letting him finish a statement – a female O'Reilly.

    I am a woman – a Navy vet who has raised 3 kids mostly by myself, is getting ready to be a grandma, am my mother's caregiver and have been in construction for 35 years. I say to Bachmann – SHUT UP AND BE POLITE. I am not impressed by rude people.

    January 21, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Check the record. How many times has he asked his colleagues to act like gentlemen?

    January 21, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. dwil

    Act like an adult may have been more politically neutral, I am amazed to hear the Republican Party calling for PC behavior. I guess I am not sexist because I think Act like a Man and Act like a Lady are not insulting, but more a reflection of the Act like an adult while noticing the gender of the person I am speaking to.

    January 21, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. Right Leaning Independent

    She will act like a lady when you act like a senator!! Bet you wish you were a Republican again!!! Another irony of the Brown win. You picked the losing side.....

    January 21, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. Cindy Merrill

    I think a cooling off period is required before any more debates take place. This demonstrates clearly why folks like myself are SICK AND TIRED of the bickering and snarling from our "leadership": Common sense healthcare reform is still possible- and while you're at it, throw a bone to low income seniors- how about expanding Meals on Wheels to rural areas, subsidize dietic foods and Senior discount days at grocery stores, and give merchants who offer senior specials a reasonable tax break? That's a good start.

    January 21, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Henry Massingale

    Ahhh, this sure dose put a smile on my face, shoot when my children get into it like this, I just go to my little office and turn on the tv and watch the move Bones, I like watching then fuss around also...
    Henry Massingale

    January 21, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. mark

    Bachmann is a crazy woman... this is what politics has deteriorated to... a bunch of crazy self centered people running this country.

    January 21, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. Andrew

    I hate people that interrupt. Listen and then have your time for rebuttal. Treating a woman as a "lady" is a compliment in my thinking. Same as "gentleman". Perhaps she expected "I treated you as a respected being of our species. Please react in an equal and balanced manner."
    .

    January 21, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  19. jjamerb

    Maybe he should tell that to pelosi.

    January 21, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. Edward

    ... the irony is that it is Specter who seems to have his panties in a twist. Somehow it is ok for democrats to be racist and sexist.

    January 21, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. Paul

    I am tired of people thinking if they interrupt and talk over someone when they are answering a question, that they somehow won. I am not entertained by this at all. It shows disrespect on their part. I flip the channel as soon as it happens. Unfortunately more and more people and TV shows seem to think that this is what we want to see. They are not correct. Let us see if respect and decorum can be brought back into our lives.

    January 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. malclave

    Typical Democrat, always trying to keep women in their place. They get too threatened when a woman works for a position of respect, instead of being handed it.

    I guess that's not completely true, though... they don't mind if a woman works for it sexually, as long as she's sleeping with other Democrats.

    January 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. Jim

    Why is this sexism? If Bachmann were a male and Specter had said, "Act like a gentleman," would that have been framed as sexist? Of course not.

    January 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  24. gop=kkk

    How can she act like a lady...she's not even HUMAN! That's one evil being.....horrible excuse for a person.

    January 21, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Bob (Illinois)

    She's not a lady, she's a loud mouth!

    January 21, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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