December 7th, 2008
02:58 PM ET
14 years ago

Rendell: Napolitano comment not sexist

[cnn-photo-caption image="" caption="Gov. Ed Rendell said he would have made the same comment if 'Jim Napolitano' had been nominated."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell defended his recent off-microphone remark about Homeland Security Secretary-designate Janet Napolitano, calling the comment “100 percent true.”

While having a private conversation at the National Governor’s Association meeting in Philadelphia on Tuesday, an open microphone picked up Rendell labeling Gov. Napolitano, D-Arizona, as “perfect” for the cabinet position because she has no family, and the position requires a person with “no life.”

On Tuesday CNN’s Campbell Brown railed against the governor, commenting that it was a sexist statement that would have never been uttered had Napolitano been a man.

But the outspoken Pennsylvania Democrat shrugged off the criticism in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday.

“What I said about Janet is true. I think she's the gold standard for governors. She works hard, she's dedicated, she's focused,” he said on Late Edition.

“Campbell Brown, who I love, as a person and respect as a newsperson, couldn't have been more wrong. She said that it was somehow sexist or a comment on single women. Let me tell you—If Janet Napolitano was Jim Napolitano and had no family, I would have said the exact same thing,” Rendell confidently stated.

Though Rendell claimed that he sent the Arizona governor a hand-written note apologizing for any discomfort he caused her, he strongly defended his controversial comment.

“Wolf, we've gotten really far off field in the way we cover news if that statement which is absolutely 100 percent true is construed as something. I would have said it about man or woman in similar position. It was meant to comment on how tough the job is and how great a choice Janet is,” Rendell told Blitzer.

Filed under: Ed Rendell • Janet Napolitano • Transition 2008
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