Today NBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert unleashed a new kind of war on women with a question he asked House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in a morning press briefing: “Colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prevents the party from having a younger leadership and hurts the party in the long run.”
The question received jeers, boos and shouts of “age discrimination!” from the dais. “NEXT!” Pelosi shouted. “NEXT!” But soon Luke re-asked his question and Pelosi replied. “You, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Clyburn you’re all over 70. Does this prevent younger leadership from moving forward?” he asked.
Pelosi: “Let’s for a moment honor it as a legitimate question [BIG LAUGH] although it’s quite offensive. But you don’t realize that, I guess. … In my own personal experience it was very important for me to elect young women. … They had a jump on me because they didn’t have to stay home. … I don’t have any concern about that. You have to take off about 14 years from me because I was at home raising a family. … The answer is no. [MORE LAUGHTER].”
So much for Luke being the prince who rides in on his white horse to save women. Or maybe it’s just young women he’s willing to protect. Forget the old. As some may recall, back in early June, Russert was all up in arms that we wrote about an internal file at the Washington Post in which “Rosie the intern” introduced her new colleagues to the top brass of the paper. “Take shots at us professionals all you want @
In reaction to today’s presser, Twitter lit up with offended women, among them noted Democratic Strategist and pundit Hilary Rosen. “Note to Luke Russert: Mitch McConnell is 70, Harry Reid is 73. Oh and Bob Schieffer is 75. Think they should step aside? #NewGuysRule?” she asked on Twitter.
The men, meanwhile, lobbed nepotism charges, asking, “Luke Russert was qualified for this job just out of college? Or did he have Daddy help him get this job? Also known as NEPOTISM. Step aside Luke for someone who can actually earn your job.” A female watcher added, “OMG I can’t believe he asked such a question! LOL I’m glad Nancy shut him down. He’s such an ass.” And another: “Hmmmm…..Maybe you were laughed off and booed because you were offensive? Ponder that Luke.” And another: “They are 70+ but they’re fine leaders. How immature & arrogant you are. Did you learn nothing about respect from your Dad?” And another: Not just Pelosi was insulted! You managed to insult ALL women! #LOSER.”
Back to the males: “Well, Luke, you got your job due to nepotism. I think you should questions regarding legitimacy of employment.” This gentleman added, “BTW [how] did your balls taste, because Nancy served them up to you.”
Watch the C-SPAN clip here. Quasi coming to Luke’s defense, CNN’s Dana Bash remarked on Twitter… “I have never seen Nancy Pelosi play up the pro woman theme as she is doing now. Even joking about the scary sight of all men at the table.”
In the end, Luke expressed no regret. “While Pelosi laughed off my Q as age-ist, many House Ds will privately gripe it hurts caucus that all 3 leaders are 70+,” he wrote on Twitter.
HuffPost wrote up the incident here.