Grayson Calls Lobbyist ‘K Street Whore’

October 28th, 2009 by

WASHINGTON (clickorlando) — The Florida Democrat who said Republicans want sick people to “die quickly” is again drawing criticism for his harsh rhetoric, this time for making derogatory remarks about a senior Federal Reserve adviser in a radio interview.
Rep. Alan Grayson hurled an insult at Linda Robertson last month on the “Alex Jones Show,” a syndicated talk radio program, while discussing the Fed’s resistance to stronger congressional oversight. Robertson is a former top Enron lobbyist and Clinton administration adviser who was hired by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke this summer to help with congressional relations.
Grayson called Robertson “a K Street whore” in the interview. Washington’s K Street is where many lobbyists, trade associations and law firms have their offices.
Grayson took exception to Robertson’s role, saying she has criticized congressional efforts to increase oversight.
“Here I am the only member of Congress who actually worked as an economist, and this lobbyist, this K Street whore, is trying to teach me about economics,” he said.
Grayson issued an apology for the comments Tuesday evening.
“I offer my sincere apology to Linda Robertson, an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. I did not intend to use a term that is often, and correctly, seen as disrespectful of women,” Grayson said. “This characterization of Ms. Robertson, made during a radio interview last month in the context of the debate over whether the Federal Reserve should be independently audited, was inappropriate, and I apologize.”
Erin Matson, a vice president at the National Organization for Women, called the slur “absolutely inappropriate.”
“Would he have singled out a male lobbyist and said the same thing?” she said in an interview Tuesday.
Republican National Committee Co-Chairman Jan Larimer called on Grayson to apologize, saying the insult was “disgraceful” and “disrespectful to women.”
But Grayson’s spokesman, Todd Jurkowski, defended the insult.
“She’s a career lobbyist who used to work for Enron and advocates for whatever she gets paid to promote,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.
Grayson drew strong criticism last month for saying the GOP’s health care plan amounted to wanting people to “die quickly” when they get sick.
He stood by the comments, leveraging the attention into a series of national television appearances in which he ridiculed Republicans as “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.” He boasted that the controversy has helped fill his campaign coffers.
Grayson did apologize for later likening the deaths of Americans without health coverage to a “holocaust.” He then set up a Web site called “Names of the Dead,” inviting people to list the names of loved ones who have died for lack of health care.
In his radio remarks, Grayson never identified Robertson by name, saying he couldn’t remember her name. But he made clear whom he was referring to from her background and job.


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