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View Diary: Brilliant! Mitt Romney revives Republican war on birth control (112 comments)

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  •  Better links on Slick Willards "Unbecoming" quote (1+ / 0-)
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    Here is the NYT story on it:

    It is the word ''unbecoming,'' which Mitt Romney, the venture capitalist and Republican nominee, used in a debate on Tuesday to describe what he saw as the aggressive demeanor of his Democratic opponent, State Treasurer Shannon P. O'Brien.

    Ms. O'Brien and the large number of women who support her quickly called Mr. Romney's choice of language sexist and demeaning. ''I certainly think that he wouldn't use the term 'unbecoming' if he were talking to a man,'' Ms. O'Brien told reporters.

    Mr. Romney has responded with a tortuous defense. First he said in a telephone interview that ''unbecoming'' could be used for either sex. Then he called back with more explanations. ''The most familiar usage of that term is 'conduct unbecoming an officer,' which is a military term and in that context it is overwhelmingly male,'' Mr. Romney said. He said that at Harvard, where he went to law and business school (Ms. O'Brien graduated from Yale), '' 'conduct unbecoming' is a term that's used for disciplinary cases.''

    And here is the WashPo weighing in on it in 2007:
    Campaigning in Nevada over the weekend, Mitt Romney was asked a question on the minds of many Republican voters: if he were the GOP nominee and found himself running against Hillary Clinton, how would he go about attacking her given the political and social delicacies involved in going up against a woman opponent? In response, according to the the National Journal, Romney invoked his successful run against Shannon O'Brien in the 2002 gubernatorial race in Massachusetts, saying that he ran against O'Brien "as a person, not a woman," and he added, "I intend to do that again."

    In fact, the historical record is a little less clear-cut on that score. The final week of the Romney-O'Brien race was consumed partly with a debate over whether Romney had taken a sexist tack in a televised debate with O'Brien, the state treasurer with a reputation as a smart and tough political insider, when he described her criticisms of him as "unbecoming." O'Brien and her supporters decried that as code language intended to undercut a strong woman. In one exchange in the debate, over O'Brien's citation of Romney's endorsement from a pro-life group in 1994, Romney said, "Your effort to continue to try and create fear and deception here is unbecoming." And deflecting her attack regarding Medicare fraud at a company whose board he served on, Romney said, "You know, the level of misrepresentation is just not becoming, Shannon. That's just wrong."

    In the days following the debate, O'Brien charged that Romney "wouldn't use the word 'unbecoming' if he were speaking about a male opponent." Romney denied this vehemently. "Unbecoming, inappropriate, not the right way to be, I'm looking for the kind of word that says, when someone is doing something that is not in the kind of manners I would have expected," he said. "That's a word which I would apply to a man or to a woman."

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