A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the state of Washington is has apologized today, then retracted his apology hours later for telling a pool reporter to perform a lewd — if anatomically impossible — act upon himself.
It was in an email interview with Seattle-based political blogger Josh Felt that Senate hopeful Michael Baumgartner let the expletive fly. Felt was hoping to get the candidate’s take on the maelstrom of controversy that has erupted from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)’s remarks in an interview over the weekend. Akin notoriously posited that if a woman is raped, her body has a way of “shutting that whole thing down” and preventing a pregnancy, thus negating the need for rape and incest exemptions in the Republican Party’s stringent new anti-abortion initiatives.
Baumgartner, a Washington state senator who has done diplomatic work in Iraq and Afghanistan, claimed that the media’s focus on Akin’s statements and inattention to the wars in those countries had frustrated him to the point of the vulgar outburst. In an email dated August 21, he wrote to Felt, “Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself.”
Baumgartner released a statement earlier today apologizing for his language.
“This was a follow-up e-mail to a previous conversation with a local blogger,” he wrote. “I apologize to Josh for my strong language.”
Within hours, however, the senator had changed his tune again, saying in an interview with Seattle’s KIRO-TV that he retracts his apology. Felt, he said, “had it coming.”
Baumgartner is running for U.S. Senate against two-term Democratic incumbent US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Recent polls have shown Cantwell leading Baumgartner by 11 points.