U.S. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich drew scorn on Monday after a video emerged in which he told a crowd that early in his career, he gleaned support from women who “left their kitchens” to campaign.
The comments were made in reference to his 1978 run for Ohio's state Senate, according to a spokesman, and not his current presidential campaign, in which he is running fifth nationally for the Republican nomination, Reuters-Ipsos polling shows.
"We just got an army of people who, and many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door-to-door and to put yard signs up," Kasich says in footage of Monday's event in Virginia.
Kasich, 63, added his first campaign took place in an era in which "things were different."
"Now you call homes and everybody's out working," Kasich said.
He apologised for the remark later on Monday.
"Of course, I’m more than happy to say I’m sorry if I offended somebody out there but it wasn't intended to be offensive and if you hear the whole thing, you’ll understand the context of it," Kasich told CNN.
In the video, an unseen audience member seems to criticise the Ohio governor for his comment.
"I want to say, your comment earlier, about the women came out of the kitchen to support you: I'll come to support you but I won't be coming out of the kitchen."
The response on social media was swift and negative, with many Twitter users decrying Kasich's anecdote as sexist.
"It's 2016. A woman's place is...wherever she wants it to be," wrote Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) on Monday, in a quotation retweet that refers to Kasich's comments about his first campaign.
Kasich press secretary Rob Nichols told Reuters the governor’s political campaigns “have always been homegrown affairs.”
“Many of his early campaign teams were made up of stay-at-home moms who believed deeply in the changes he wanted to bring,” Nichols said. “He’s proud of that authentic support. To try and twist his comments into anything else is just desperate politics."
Some social media users compared Kasich’s comment to former Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” moment from the 2012 presidential campaign, when he described receiving many resumes from women. The comment struck many at the time as tone deaf.
“Mitt had binders full of women, and Kasich has kitchens full of women,” tweeted Chicago Jesus (@Patriot_Musket).
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Additional reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Andrew Hay and Peter Cooney)
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