“Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality,” she said at a roundtable discussion about women’s issues at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.
“What Republican Tea Party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch,” Wasserman Schultz added.
Her comments drew heavy blowback from Republicans and even the campaign of Walker’s Democratic challenger, Mary Burke.
“That’s not the type of language that Mary Burke would use, or has used, to point out the clear differences in this contest,” Stephanie Wilson, spokeswoman for Burke’s gubernatorial campaign, told the newspaper.
“There is plenty that she and Governor Walker disagree on, but those disagreements can and should be pointed out respectfully.”
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch called the comments “absolutely hideous” and the motive behind them “despicable.”
“Talk about desperate,” tweeted Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Spicer riped the congresswoman, arguing that the DNC needs a new speechwriter. He even joked about whether the DNC had hired a former speechwriter for Vice President Biden, who’s known for using blunt language.
RNC press secretary Kirsten Kukowski also tweeted that Wasserman Schultz “crossed the line” in Wisconsin, saying it “shows how much [Democrats] are flailing.”
A deputy communications director at the DNC, Lily Adams, rejected the idea that Wasserman Schultz was belittling victims of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue and the Congresswoman (Wasserman Schultz) was by no means belittling the very real pain survivors experience.”
Wasserman Schultz attacked Walker’s opposition to increasing the minimum wage. She also slammed Walker for signing a bill in 2012 that would prevent people subjected to employment discrimination from seeking punitive and compensatory damages in state court.
Democrats have also criticized Walker and Republicans for passing tighter regulations on abortion.
With Burke and Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, the attorney general candidate, at the top of their ticket, Democrats are eager to turn out their base among women voters Nov. 4. The latest Marquette University Law School poll shows both Democrats are leading among women voters.
Walker and Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, the Republican candidate for attorney general, have leads among men.
Wasserman Schultz said the Burke-Walker matchup is a “major race” for Democrats.
“She has run a campaign from beginning to now that is exactly on track to make sure she’s elected governor, a slow rolling boil that will eventually reach a crescendo that will send her to the governor’s office,” Wasserman Schultz said.
Wasserman Schultz’s remarks set off a minor political firestorm that built over the hours, with the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association delivering scathing statements. RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho called the remarks “appalling and shameful.