January 21st, 2010
07:33 PM ET
10 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. Glenn, Cary, NC

    That was no lady, that was Michele Bachmann. Nobody voted for Bachmann because she is female or dignified. Her supporters like her because she is outspoken and UN-ladylike. It also doesn't hurt that she is crazy as a loon.

    January 21, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Ken

    What's the fuss? He was a gentleman and allowed her to speak uninterruptedly. She did not afford him the same consideration, showing herself to be rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful to her elders. Sen. Specter has through longevity, both in lifespan and senate tenure, has earned the right to chastise impertinent whippersnappers.

    January 21, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. John

    Good for him! She does the same thing in every interview. It's about time somebody said something about it. She's just like every other Nopublican, she thinks if she talks constantly, and doesn't say anything coherent, or allow anyone else to, she wins. The party of NO! NO! NO! All the while, the PEOPLE suffer! All of them need to get a life!

    January 21, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Denna

    I love this. Finally, finally some old-fashioned manners. You do remember that, don't you America? It seems that politeness is one major casualty of our society. Senator Bachmann should learn some common manners; Senator Specter came from a time when manners existed.

    January 21, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Bob

    What's wrong with that comment? How is that belittling?

    January 21, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. john

    Typical behavior from this senile, has-been, party-changing loser. Time for the specter of Specter to be gone from Congress!!!

    January 21, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. Larry M. Wiltjer Chairman Riverside County Whig

    I've heard alot of the flip-flop of our voters from Republican to Democrat and back again. Many have said neither party seems to have the answer and that they are to entrenched to really care.
    It is time for a third party. And that third party is the Modern Whig Party. It is 2 years young and growing. You can check out their website at modwhig.org They are trying to become a mainstream Political party in America.

    January 21, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Mike

    It is always appropriate to interupt if you are a family values GOPer. Why worry aboit manners or being polite. It is not a wonder so many young people are turned off by the Republican party. Grow up Bachmann.Male or female manners count and you have none.

    January 21, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. Jay G

    So what? Why is this a big deal?

    I hate when politicians interrupt each other during a debate, so I'm glad he called her out. And I'm a Republican.

    January 21, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  10. jim

    "Instead of belittling his female colleagues, Arlen Specter should take his own advice and act like a gentleman," said NRSC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand.

    soooo, it seems that ms wilkerson marchand thinks it's ok to interrupt repeatedly.

    January 21, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. Trey

    Rep. Bachmann, a well mannered person (e.g. a lady) does not interrupt someone when they are speaking. How am I supposed to teach my kids to wait their turn if members of the Congress can't manage it?
    There is nothing sexist in Senator Specter's admonishment. Had a male member of Congress acted this way, I'm sure the Senator would have told him to act like a gentleman. Rudeness is rudeness and, Congresswoman, you were rude.

    January 21, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Jenn, Philadelphia

    It was a sexist comment. She was acting like a politician, they are always talking over each other and interrupting each other. As in the Anita Hill questioning years ago, Specter proves once again how out of touch his with women.

    January 21, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. rob

    He was acting like a gentleman. She shouldn't have continued to interrupt him. That was rude.

    January 21, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. Mike

    Bachman – the shear fact that she can get elected proves that part of the population is lacking some intelligence
    BTW I am next door to her district

    January 21, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Ethan

    Lady? She's barely HUMAN.

    Btw, Michelle....... CENSUS TAKER IS COMING FOR YOU!

    January 21, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. Kip

    She's the absolute dumbest right-winger in government, and thats sayin somethin when Sarah Palin is also in the party

    January 21, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. Barbara

    Ms. Bachmann does a "lot of talking" and has yet to show what exactly she has actually "accomplished" during her tenure. She has every right to ask questions, but her divisive attitude and sometimes over the top comments, belittle whatever her capabilities may be. Maybe she still wants to "investigate" all those who do not agree with her as being unamerican and lacking patriotism.

    January 21, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  18. Wanda

    What is so lacking in our politics today is simple courtesy. Could she not have allowed him to finish speaking before she kept interrupting him ? This tit for tat is getting very old. Until we can get back to being civil to each other our goverment will never be able to get anything done.

    January 21, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. Mac

    For years – just watch the Jim Lehrer news show – right-wingers have interrupted other panelists, talked through them, etc. It seems to be part of their ethic. Ms Bachmann is only the latest example. When facts and reason fail you, just interrupt and keep talking.

    January 21, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. cynthia marron

    As a 35 year old Southerner, I have no problem with Sen. Specter's comment. Acting like a lady means giving your respected colleague a chance to complete his thought even if you don't agree. Sen. Specter is right, political arenas are not places to engage in talk show like battles of "but my turn wasn't long enough" attitude. Basic courtesy would go a long way to helping politics and life run smoothly.

    January 21, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. annie against biased news

    Specter should act like he had at least one brain cell left in his tiny brain and government run news medias like cnn wonder why the Tea Parties were formed.

    January 21, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  22. Chris

    Whatever happened to civility in politics?

    And thats directed at Bachmann, not Specter. This has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with Bachmann not respecting the opinions of others. Though if I were in Specter's shoes I would have said, "Act like an adult and I'll treat you like one."

    January 21, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. JS007

    Bachmann is a lunatic, Specter shouldn't pick on the mentally unstable...LOL.

    January 21, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Shel in GA

    Bachmann is unwilling or unable to act in a socially civilized manner. During my many decades of dealing with people in power positions, I learned that people who act as she acts are incapable of putting together an intelligent argument to win someone over so they attack instead.

    January 21, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. Keith

    Well clearly that woman should not have interrupted Senator Specter. Typical loudmouthed Republican. Always has to try and get the last word in.

    January 21, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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