Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) admitted Tuesday that he probably shouldn’t have written off the mayor of Hoboken, N.J. as a “lady mayor.”
Appearing Monday on CNN, Barbour, a mentor of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), downplayed Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that Christie’s administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds from her city unless she fast-tracked a redevelopment project.
“This is a lady mayor who asked for $127 million of hazard mitigation money from the governor to give that to her from the federal money. When the state was only receiving in its entirety $300 million,” Barbour told CNN, adding that her accusations were “absurd.”
Chuck Todd, host of MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown,” asked Barbour Tuesday if he didn’t mean to call Zimmer a “lady mayor.”
“Well I didn’t mean for it to be taken the wrong way,” he responded. “Somebody wrote me a note about it, I wrote her back and said thanks for the constructive criticism.”
Pressed by Todd to say whether he believed the comment was wrong, Barbour said he didn’t think it was “beneficial.”
“There’s certainly no difference between a lady mayor and a man mayor,” he added. “Except in this Christie story, the first person was a mayor [Fort Lee, N.J. Mayor Mark Sokolich] who happened to be a man. The second person was a mayor who happened to be a lady, and you don’t want to get them mixed up. But that wasn’t the right way to go in it.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.