Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is "grabbing" women "by the hair and pulling us back," Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz declared Wednesday in a controversial blast using domestic violence imagery to attack the Republican's politics.
During a round-table discussion on women's issues at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, the Florida congresswoman delivered a withering assessment of Walker's record that nevertheless raised eyebrows with both Democrats and Republicans, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
"Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand," she said. "I know that is direct. But that is reality."
"What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back," she added. "It is not going to happen on our watch."
Wasserman Schultz blasted Walker's opposition to increasing the minimum wage and his signing of a bill in 2012 that would prevent victims of employment discrimination from seeking damages in state court. Democrats have also criticized Walker and Republicans for passing tighter regulations on abortion.
But Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch told the newspaper she was "shocked" by Wasserman Schultz's imagery.
"I think the remarks were absolutely hideous and the motive behind them was despicable," Kleefisch railed, demanding that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke "denounce these outrageous statements."
The incumbent and Burke are engaged in a highly competitive battle for governor.
Burke spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson suggested Kleefisch had a point.
"That's not the type of language that Mary Burke would use, or has used, to point out the clear differences in this contest," Wilson said. "There is plenty that she and Gov. Walker disagree on — but those disagreements can and should be pointed out respectfully."
The remarks had the DNC scrambling, the newspaper noted.
"Domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue, and the congresswoman was by no means belittling the very real pain survivors experience," said Lily Adams, deputy communications director for the DNC, the Sentinel Journal reported.
It's the second time this week a Democrat has caught flak for using inflammatory language to blast their GOP opponents.
In Alabama, Jesse Smith, a Democratic candidate for the House, called Republicans "worse than" the Islamic State in a tweet posted on Labor Day,
referring to GOP economic policies.
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