This morning, during a heated discussion with Rachel Maddow on Meet The Press, GOP consultant Alex Castellanos denied that women make 77 cents for a man’s dollar in the workplace and noted, “there are lots of reasons for that.” Maddow expressed shock at the assertion, but concluded that it explained why Republicans and Mitt Romney are so hesitant to embrace the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a law that helps women hold accountable employers who discriminate in the pay practices based on gender.
“Now we know, at least from both of your perspectives,” Maddow said, pointing to Castellanos and Romney surrogate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), “women are not fairing worse than men in the economy that women aren’t getting paid less for equal work.” “It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening,” she added. Castellanos responded to Maddow’s policy argument by remarking on her passion, to which the MSNBC host took offense:
CASTELLANOS: It is about policy and I love how passionate you are. I wish you were as right about what you’re saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.
MADDOW: That’s really condescending. This is a stylistic issue. My passion on this issue is actually me making a factual argument on it.
In an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer earlier this month, Romney refused to say whether he would sign the Lilly Ledbetter Act, but claimed that he would not change it. Romney’s women surrogates — including McMorris Rodgers — all voted against the legislation. Castellanos himself consulted Romney during the 2008 presidential election.