The White House has demanded an apology from Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat who said it was “disrespectful” for President Barack Obama to criticize Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who opposes Obama’s free-trade efforts with Japan, Mexico, Canada and other Pacific-rim nations. Obama said it was “absolutely wrong” for Warren to oppose the plans.
Responding to Warren's criticism, Obama referred to the Democrat by her first name, “Elizabeth,” and said that she was a “politician like everybody else." He said that Warren’s arguments did not stand “the test of fact and scrutiny.”
But according to Brown, it was disrespectful for Obama to call Warren “another politician.” He indicated that gender had played a part while Obama made the comment. “I think referring to her as first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps?” Politico quoted Brown as saying.
Brown also said that U.S. workers had negative experiences with previous foreign trade agreements, including the loss of jobs. He added that they would not like their leaders launching personal attacks against one another.
The White House said Wednesday that it was a common practice for Obama to call lawmakers by their first names. According to the White House, Brown should offer an apology to the president for his off-base comment.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said there have been times when Obama has called Brown by his first name. "I believe that Sen. Brown, given the opportunity to consider his remarks, will then offer up an apology because he's a stand-up guy," CNN quoted Earnest as saying.
The National Organization for Women also said that Obama’s comment related to Warren could be viewed as sexist. NOW President Terry O'Neill said that Obama, “in a sexist way,” tried building up his own trustworthiness on the issue by convincing people that Warren's concerns should not to be taken seriously.
The Hill quoted O'Neill saying that Obama apparently meant to say “the little lady” did not know what she was talking about. He said that it was “disrespectful” for Obama to speak in such manner.
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