Freed Calls Kane “Pretty”; Dems Pounce

From her campaign website: Kathleen Kane and her family

Pennsylvania Democrats and a women’s rights group are criticizing Republican Attorney General hopeful Dave Freed for his remark that his opponent, Kathleen Kane, is “pretty and has a lot of money”.

He made the comment during an interview with the Towanda Daily Review on Wednesday. The reporter had asked Freed about the challenge he faces in November. In addition to Kane’s appearance and by extension her gender and her funding (during the primary Kane’s husband loaned her campaign $1.75 million); Freed also noted Dems’ voter registration advantage in PA.

The PA chapter of the National Organization for Women fired off a press release – which was forwarded by the PA Democratic Party – condemning Freed.

“It’s a shame in 2012 that Mr. Freed would rather talk about Kathleen Kane’s appearance than his own credentials,” said Julia Ramsey, the group’s chair. “Kathleen Kane is an accomplished career prosecutor who’s taken on violent sexual offenders and pedophiles.”

Kane served as assistant District Attorney in Lackawanna County from 1995 to 2007. Freed is the Cumberland County District Attorney, a post he has held since 2005.

“War on women” issues, among them the now-defunct proposal for mandatory ultrasounds and legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, have earned numerous headlines so far this election cycle. Democrats, Kane included, have sought to tie the AG race – which historically has been low-key – to the hot-button topics.

In TV ads and appearances, Kane’s campaign has emphasized the fact that she would be the first woman elected to the post of Attorney General (current AG Linda Kelly was appointed, not elected, to fill the remainder of Tom Corbett’s term). During the primary, she vocally criticized the ultrasound mandate. The PA Dems sought to put Freed on the record on the proposal after it had been effectively defeated.

The Kane camp declined to comment on Freed’s Wednesday remark.

Several Democratic women and officeholders joined PA NOW in criticizing Freed.

Bucks County Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia said she sees the comment as representative of a general trend in Pennsylvania politics. She said, “Pennsylvania is one of the lowest states in the nation in terms of the number of female elected officials.  This sort of comment by Dave Freed is part of the reason why.  This comment happened to be caught by a reporter…who knows what sort of thing he’s saying behind closed doors?”

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said, “I am offended by Dave Freed’s comment that Kathleen Kane is just “pretty and has a lot of money”. I’m sure Kathleen Kane, like a lot of women, is ‘pretty’ fed up with Harrisburg politicians totally out of touch with women.”

The Freed campaign declined to comment.

Physical appearance is at least relevant thanks to the prevalence of television advertising and campaign literature. The question is just how great a role does it actually play.

From his campaign website: Dave Freed and family

Dr. Catherine Wilson is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University who specializes in part in how women affect politics. She said appearance isn’t thought to be a major factor.

“As a matter of general principle, a candidate’s appearance can factor subconsciously into a voter’s decision-making. But in the field of political science, appearance is not a commonplace variable for electoral study. Instead, political scientists tend to analyze candidate messaging, party structure, and voter preferences. And appearance never has topped the list of those preferences.”

Kane is not the first female politician whose qualifications have been minimized by opponents because of her physical attractiveness. Wilson said, “it is important to note that attractiveness is oftentimes a double-edged sword, especially for female candidates. All one needs to do is to consider recent elections where so-called ‘attractive’ women ran for public office. In some cases, these elections served to drive a wedge between those candidates’ looks and their professional capabilities, rendering them less qualified for office in the eyes of political elites and media establishments.”

22 Responses

  1. Don’t worry Bill Shaw…..Your conviction is also in the works you effin crook.

  2. To even consider that this is an insult is part of the problem of politics. The public cares about real issues, not this type of garbage. She is pretty and it gives her about a 5% advantage (I did a study on this to find the level of increase for an attractive woman). It matters and some voters are influenced by looks. She is well funded and that matters also. to those that talk about NOW and Emily’s list, those groups will not support a GOP nominee anyways and their net effect is basically zero as the public has tired of this type of political crap.
    We need strong candidates for office. BobGuzzardi, you point out the flaws of Dave Freed, but have you honestly investigated Kane and her families business ties. I am not saying one thing in regards to them, but sometimes I believe you are so focused on the problems of GOP candidates that you fail to notice the real problems of the Democrats.
    We have headed down a dangerous path of putting people in prison that probably don’t deserve to be there. Maybe out of office but not sitting in jail. Our nation puts WAY TOO many people in jail, most in the world per capita by about 500%. What we are creating is a system that will lead to no one with sense wanting to run for public office. There are political leaders I dislike but not one of them I want to see in jail because I disagree with them.
    Dave Freed will exercise restraint…. and Bob..quit blaming Corbett for Sandusky…they had little money and tried their best. It’s crap to put that blame on him and his office. I’m embarrassed that you even went there. So tired of Corbett getting blamed by people for that. One person is at fault, Jerry Sandusky… NO ONE should gain politically from what happened to those children. NO ONE. So don’t use it again.

  3. Wow, he can’t even compliment her? What a freak. What kind of person gets so insanely upset over this? She must be a complete psycho. No thanks.

  4. I’m a fairly liberal Democrat, a Kane supporter and a modern feminist. I think this was in bounds. There’s nothing wrong with being attractive — that’s not an insult. Sure, he’s minimizing her accomplishments, but that’s his job. They’re opponents. What’s he going to do, talk about her great record as a prosecutor?

    This will rightfully annoy a lot of women who have seen sexist men minimize women’s accomplishments for no good reason by focusing on their appearances. Freed on the other hand has a good reason. They’re opponents.

    I have no idea if Freed is sexist, but I don’t see this as evidence. If there’s a case to be made that this is part of a pattern, then make the case, but I don’t see it. The Kane campaign should react to this by talking about her prosecutorial experience and her plans for the office. This is a distraction to both campaigns.

  5. John, you’re trying to be a rational voice in an insane asylum. It was a compliment if anything, and this is a non-story. But people like bob guzzardi need fantasies of dark backroom dealing and evil power brokers to make sense of their failures in life.

  6. Freed is going to be “pretty” upset when Kathleen defeats him in November.

  7. I have met Mrs. Kane several times as an involved Democrat. My contacts with her taught me that she is far beyond “pretty”. While she is a physically attractive person, she is also a dedicated mother and career prosecutor with a record of legal prosecutorial success.
    That Mr. Freed is afraid of the Mrs. Kane physical appearance is rather disappointing. That he exhibits a fear of beauty when he should be discussing ideas and programs for change that the Attorney General’s Office surely needs after the years it has been used as a stepping stone to other offices is outrageous.

    The Sandusky affair illustrates just why Mr. Freed is reluctant to discuss why he was mentored by Corbett to run for this office. We need Mrs. Kane to establish priorities beyond just political show trials. We really need someone who will protect us from and combat the pernicious influence of big oil and their rape of PA’s environment in their pay to play schemes.
    And as the many criminals who she put in jail for crimes can also tell you she is much more than pretty – she has been a very effective prosecutor.

  8. good point SOP. Perhaps my message was to Kane supporters. Focus on Freed’s ties to Republican Insiders.

    I think the Kane campaign is making a mistake in not reaching out to disaffected Tea Party voters who lean Republican but are far more aware of how Republican Leadership is selling out The Forgotten Taxpayer.

    see Act 130 of 2011 and SB 1480 as well as some of upcoming special appropriations bills which I am analyzing now. Look at SB 1477 which increases Gaming Appropriations by $4 million – why? Pennsylvania Republican Leadership is selling out The Forgotten Taxpayer while pretending to be fiscally responsible.

    The level of anger of the Republican and Tea Party base toward Republican Leadership cannot be underestimated.

    “Independent of Party Leadership; Independent of Union Leadership; a prosecutor not a politician.”

  9. The response is much worse than the remark..

    Mr. Freed seems to be honestly remarking that his opponent is photogenic (and better looking than him) and well funded, which from a campaign standpoint are real factors, not factors Dave Freed invented to discount the capable Mrs. Kane.

    In fact, it seems to indicate the exact opposite, he considers her to be a very serious opponent and that she has some advantages he may not have.

  10. well said SOP “protect he political Establishment”; I would reformulate to say “protect the REPUBLICAN political Establishment and Tom Corbett’s Cover Up’s as AG ”

    Is no one else heartbroken about the abused kids? or the the looting of the Hershey Trust by Republican Insiders or the unfairness that Senate Insiders got away with what Jane Orie is going to jail for?

    Meanwhile the leadership of the Republican controlled Senate and House and Governor are about to load another $1.675 billion dollars of debt after loading $1.6 billion to fund numerous Democratic and Liberal beneficiaries with Act 130 of 2011. There is a reason the Tea Party and Patriots and Reform Republican remain infuriated.

    The Democratic Progressive EPA is destroying Pennsylvania’s coal industry and killing coal mining jobs. Is the UMWA at all concerned about what is happening to its membership, the workers?

    and so it goes. I had hope that Kathleen Kane would run a campaign that she is “Independent of Party Leadership; Independent of Union Leadership; a Prosecutor not a Politician” accurate and exactly the opposite of Dave Freed who is captive of Tom Corbett and Republican General Assembly Leadership.

  11. Bobguzzardi- I don’t see where the Kane campaign has even commented on this, so how can you blame them? I just checked their website and there is no mention of it. Freed has to take responsibility for what he says. I am not surprised that when he demeans a skilled and capable woman, groups like Emily’s List and NOW will try to hold him accountable.

  12. Nigel – Freed didn’t say capable. He said pretty and has alot of money. He sounds like he is straight out of the hallowed halls of a country club and my bet is he will protect the political establishment. He’s not the right person for AG.

  13. The Kane counterattack is, in my view, off the mark. She could have said “what is not so pretty is the that Dave Freed is Tom Corbett’s personally, hand picked candidate to cover us Sandusky coverup – 10 years from rape of a ten year old to indictment and more than three years from 2008 mother’s complaint

    AND what is not so pretty is that Dave Freed’s principle political patron and financial funder, LeRoy Zimmerman, is himself a subject of an AG investigation. FYI Pennsylvania does not have a Special Prosecutor or Independent Prosecutor statute.

    and what is not so pretty is that Tom Corbett’s hand picked candidate will, likely, cover up the failure of AG Corbett to investigate Senate Bonusgate including Mike Long and Andrew Crompton.

    Tom Corbett, likely, picked someone whom he knew would cover up the cover ups. Disgraceful.

    Unfortunately, the Kane campaign is running a conventional social values campaign. Gender is not the issue or who is prettier than whom. The issue is who is more likely to enforce the law, fairly, without fear or favor and guarantee equal justice under law. Not protection for favored few.

    I am disappointed in Neil Oxman. I expected better

  14. Capable, well-funded, and attractive. Had Mr. Freed said that, would they still be complaining? If so, how screwed up is a system where those three attributes are not considered note worthy. Like it or not, physical appearance is a factor in electoral politics. Might as well state the truth. Unless you are afraid of the PC Police.

  15. Well, Mr. Freed, she’s got a steel spine, too, and I think she’s gonna mop the floor with you come November.

  16. Her husband is a successful businessman and she is an accomplished attorney. Who cares what either of them look like? David Freed showed himself to be an out-of-touch, backroom, stodgy Republican. What a loser.

  17. Of course, Palin–in addition to actually BEING pretty–had unfashionable views about abortion, so anything goes.

  18. Not exactly a great analogy, Bill Shaw. Palin’s nicknames among bloggers or other unofficial sources hardly compare to this situation. Kane’s opponent said this. Did President Obama or Vice President Biden call her that? Not that I can recall.

    Also, don’t belittle Kane by comparing her to Palin. Kane is an attorney and career prosecutor. Palin couldn’t name one news outlet she followed.

  19. David Freed’s statements about Kathleen Kane confirm what we already knew=Republicans are Misogynists.

  20. it’s a shame the Democrats seem to forget the every-other day reference to “Caribou Barbie” they made about the quite attractive Sarah Palin 4 years ago. Freaking hypocrites.

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