DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is apologizing for calling Republican Joni Ernst attractive, but "wrong for the state of Iowa."
Harkin, who is supporting Democrat Bruce Braley to succeed him, made the remarks at a recent Democratic dinner. Video of the speech was posted on the Buzzfeed website Sunday.
Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, center, is seen reflected in a mirror as he speaks to supporters at a campaign stop, Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, in Ottumwa, Iowa. Braley is running against Republican State Sen. Joni Ernst for the U.S. Senate seat of Tom Harkin, who is not seeking reelection. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
In the video, Harkin says it doesn't matter if Ernst is "as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers," if she's going to be a conservative vote in the Senate.
Ernst decried the remark as sexist, saying he would not have made the same comments about a male candidate.
In a statement released Monday, Harkin said he "shouldn't have said those things," and that he regrets "any time someone feels offended by what I have said."