Ellmers: Comment on bringing policy 'down to a woman's level' taken out of context
Posted July 15, 2014
Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said Tuesday that her comments last week about how lawmakers can bring policy "down to a woman's level" to better engage with female voters have been taken out of context by liberal critics.
In an opinion piece, the Washington Examiner quoted Ellmers at a Republican Study Committee meeting Friday to discuss women's issues. According to the report, Ellmers noted that "men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level."
“Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them, and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that," Ellmers said, according to the piece.
She added, according to the Examiner: “We need our male colleagues to understand that, if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life – that’s the way to go."
Examiner columnist Ashe Schow also quoted other panelists from the event outside of Congress who discussed better messaging for issues such as contraception, abortion and other social issues.
"If Republicans want to change the message on women's issues, they'll have to look outside Washington to do it," Schow wrote.
In an emailed statement, Ellmers called criticism over the quote "absolutely ridiculous."
"I am a woman and find it both offensive and sexist to take my words and redefine them to imply that women need to be addressed at a lower level," Ellmers said in the statement.
She said it was a shame critics chose to look past the discussion and "attack the open exchange of ideas."
"In answering a question regarding how Republicans can improve their messaging, I took the opportunity to note that everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences – and our messaging should do the same," Ellmers said. "If there is a problem, who is perpetuating it? Was it a room full of women laughing, bonding and sharing solutions – or a liberal woman reporter attacking the event and taking it to a dark place that does not exist?"
The congresswoman's office has not responded to follow-up questions about whether the reporter she referenced was the Examiner's Schow, whose online resume lists her former employers as the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and the Burlington County Republican Committee.
In response to Ellmers' comment Tuesday, Schow posted the full audio and transcript of the congresswoman's remarks from the committee meeting.
Ellmers' full statement
"This is absolutely ridiculous and the quote in question was taken completely out of context. I am a woman, and find it both offensive and sexist to take my words and redefine them to imply that women need to be addressed at a lower level.
The point of Friday's panel was to have an open conversation regarding how we communicate our values and principles to women across this country. Unfortunately, certain leftist writers have decided to take this important opportunity and engage in "gotcha" journalism. There were so many positive ideas and solutions proposed during this discussion that sought to empower women. But instead of focusing on these positive steps, some writers are cherry-picking words and using predetermined agendas to attack Republicans and increase their readership.
It is a shame that such an important moment for addressing solutions and empowering women was used to attack the open exchange of ideas. In answering a question regarding how Republicans can improve their messaging, I took the opportunity to note that everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences - and our messaging should do the same.
If there is a problem, who is perpetuating it? Was it a room full of women laughing, bonding and sharing solutions - or a liberal woman reporter attacking the event and taking it to a dark place that does not exist?"