Lazio Calls Debate Criticism 'Sexist'

ByABC News
September 19, 2000, 9:28 PM

Sept. 20 -- Stung by apparent charges that he was too aggressive during last weeks New York Senate debate against Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. Rick Lazio said Tuesday such criticism of his behavior was sexist.

Lazio, the Republican nominee, left his podium during last weeks forum in Buffalo and strode over to Mrs. Clintons side of the stage brandishing what he said was a contract to ban soft money from the campaign. The first lady did not accept the offer.

After the event, Mrs. Clintons spokesman, Howard Wolfson, called Lazios behavior menacing.

Last Thursday, the first lady dismissed it with a jibe at Lazio, saying thething that probably prepared me best in dealing with things likethat was having two younger brothers.

Tuesday, Lazio responded during a campaign stop in Buffalo.

The idea that somehow that theres a double standard becauseyoure a man or a woman, and you cant make a point forcefully if youre a man, and the person youre making the point with is awoman, I just think thats sexist, he told reporters.

Lazio added, I dont think people in the Senateworry about whether youre a man or a woman.

In response, Mrs. Clintons communications director, Howard Wolfson, said Today the political world was rocked by the bizarre accusation that Rick Lazio has been the victim of sexism. Poor Rick. Let me be the first to offer him my support.

Gender Prominent in GOP Letter

Clintons gender is prominent in the latest fund-raising lettersent by state GOP Chairman William Powers. He uses the termwoman five times in the new letter, sent on behalf of hispartys candidate.

I have high hopes that youll help us stop this ambitious,ruthless, scheming, calculating, manipulating woman from foolingvoters, Powers writes. In a postscript, he adds: HillaryClinton is an angry woman.