NPR Senior News Analyst Cokie Roberts recently moderated a panel discussion with women serving in the U.S. Senate “about how they differ from their male counterparts.” Specifically, Roberts asked the senators — including Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison and New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand — about why there are fewer scandalous affairs involving women in public life:
Q: So is Sen. Hutchison right? Are women more focused on their jobs — at least the women politicians you’ve covered?
ROBERTS: Let’s put it this way, we don’t see a lot of scandals among women. And her [Hutchison’s] point — oh my lord, you try to keep the kids straight and the job straight, and get back and forth between houses. And of course, she is a Republican woman from Texas, who —
She actually, interesting Michelle — as a senator, and now she is in her mid- to late-60s, adopted two little children, who are really young enough to be her grandchildren. So this was a new balancing act for her to have these children.
But she was echoed by Kirsten Gillibrand, the young senator from New York, who has an 18-month-old baby and others. And Sen. Gillibrand says, “You’re in the middle of diapers and bottles and bills and votes and markups, how could you possibly think about doing anything else?” They’re joking on the one hand, but on the other hand they’re not. They take care of their families and take care of business.
Roberts also commented on Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace’s recent comments that he was hoping former Alaska governor — and fellow Fox News contributor — Sarah Palin would sit on his lap during their interview on his show. Roberts said his remarks were “appalling.” “You know, it’s the last place that men feel that they can just make jokes,” she said. “They would never make such jokes about a minority, you’d be in terrible trouble. But you can still make sexist jokes about women and get away with it.” Listen here:
In reaction to South Carolina Mark Sanford’s (R) extramarital affair last year, former Bush press secretary Dana Perino said the answer was to “[e]lect more women. No woman I know has the time for such trysts, nor do I know any who say the desire one. They’re too busy trying to keep all the plates spinning at home, at work, and at the gym to make sure none fall and break.”