Iowa Republican candidate for the Senate Joni Ernst fired back at comments made by outgoing Democratic Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and wants him to know that a "real woman" can be conservative and female.
Ernst told "Fox & Friends" she was "very offended" that Harkin would reference her looks and politics in considering whether or not she was a viable candidate to represent Iowa voters.
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Harkin made the remarks last week at the annual fall barbecue of the Story County Democrats where he said Ernst was "really attractive" and warned that she "sounds nice."
"I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers. But, if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa," Harkin said.
"I was very offended that Sen. Harkin would say that. I think it's unfortunate that he and many of their party believe that you can't be a real woman if you're conservative and you're female," Ernst said Monday.
Ernst maintained that if a Republican had made the same type of statement "the press would have been all over this this morning," and suggested Harkin would not have uttered the words if she had been male.
"They would not have let that go. I believe if my name had been John Ernst attached to my resume, Sen. Harkin would not have said those things," she said.
Ernst challenged Harkin's remarks in light of the Democratic strategy of accusing Republicans with waging a war on women. As someone who served two tours in Iraq with the National Guard, she cautioned lawmakers against using the word "war" loosely.
"The night of my primary election, I said that this is a phony war on women. First, I am a woman. And, second, I have been to war. I am a combat veteran. This is not a war on women. And, any time Democrats are using the word war, they need to do it to honor our servicemen and women," she said.
Ernst said she would use the final 24 hours before the election to campaign across the state in her race against Democratic Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley. If elected, she said her primary objectives would be to "repeal and replace Obamacare," balance the budget, and "address our tax structure here in the United States."
Ernst leading Braley by as much as seven points leading into Tuesday's election.
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