Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley, who is running to replace Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), apologized on Tuesday for attempting to insult Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) by pointing out that he is just a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”
The elitist-sounding jab came as Braley told supporters at a fundraiser that if Republicans regain control of the Senate in November, Grassley would likely serve as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As reported by the Des Moines Register, here’s the full text of his comments:
To put this in stark contrast, if you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone’s who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary Committee or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
To make matters worse for Braley, the comments were caught on video:
Iowa currently has 88,631 farm operators, according to Census data. The “farmer” insult is unlikely to win them or other voters over come November.
Grassley’s team was quick to respond to the remarks, saying in a statement that by the Democrat’s logic “a trial lawyer shouldn’t be involved in policy making about agriculture, or energy, or health care.”
Referencing former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, New York Times reporter Nick Confessore asked if this was Braley’s “47 percent moment.”
Braley eventually issued an apology explaining how much he respects farmers.
My parents both grew up on Iowa farms during the Great Depression. It deeply influenced who they are and who I am, and gave me a profound appreciation for what farmers do for the world. One of my grandfathers was a charter member of the Iowa Farm Bureau. I grew up in rural Iowa, doing farm jobs and working a grain elevator. I have tremendous respect for Iowa farmers and appreciate how important they are to our state, and I’m grateful to have the support of hundreds of farmers across Iowa.
(H/T: Talking Points Memo)