Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 28, 2014

Bruce Braley Apologizes to Grassley for ‘Farmer’ Slight

Bruce Braley Apologizes to Grassley for Farmer Slight

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, apologized for his critical comments of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, that were posted online Tuesday by a Republican research group.

Speaking at a fundraiser, Braley, who is running for the Hawkeye State’s open Senate seat, said the Senate could end up with “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” before identifying that person as Grassley.

“I apologize to Senator Grassley and anyone I may have offended,” Braley said in a statement released a couple of hours after the video posted. “I respect Senator Grassley and enjoy our working relationship even though we disagree on some issues.”

The Des Moines Register reported that the video was taken by a donor at a Jan. 23 fundraiser in Corpus Christi, Texas, before being released Tuesday by America Rising. Braley also told the assembled donors — presumably lawyers — that he is “someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way.”

A Grassley spokesperson responded in a statement pointing to Grassley’s years of service and accomplishments on the committee.

“By the logic expressed on this recording a trial lawyer shouldn’t be involved in policy making about agriculture, or energy, or health care,” the spokesperson said, noting that Grassley has served on the committee since first being elected to the Senate in 1980.

“Alongside that, Sen. Grassley’s one of only two working family farmers in the United States Senate, where he brings Iowa common sense to work for ag, anti-trust, transportation, environmental, energy, trade, health care, communications, national security, and tax policy that works for all of America,” the spokesperson added.

Braley is currently favored to hold the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, as the race is rated Leans Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Republicans face a complicated and crowded primary between state Sen. Joni Ernst, businessman Mark Jacobs, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and radio host Sam Clovis, among others, which could be decided in a June convention.

Republicans pounced on the video, relating it to Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remark taken by a hidden camera at a fundraiser during the 2012 presidential campaign.

“Once again, trial lawyer Bruce Braley is proving how grossly out of touch he is,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Brook Hougesen said in a statement. “Not only is Bruce Braley no friend to farmers, but no friend to Iowans.”

Beyond his apology to Grassley, Braley highlighted his agricultural roots, including his parents who “both grew up on Iowa farms during the Great Depression.” He also took the opportunity to  highlight the contrast between “Mark Jacobs and my other opponents who support policies that are bad for Iowa farmers, and the work I’ve done hand in hand with Iowa farmers to grow Iowa’s farm economy and create good paying Iowa farm jobs.”

 

For more on which Republicans might challenge Braley, check out our post on the GOP field.

 

Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

  • sgthwjack

    Braley is only sorry that he inadvertently allowed his true arrogance to slip out.

    • hateful1

      And, it back-fired on him. Just another politician.

  • hesh R

    Another elitist democrat showing their true colors. Iowa vote Republican in Nov.

  • DocinPA

    Q: How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?
    A: Shoot him before he hits the water.

  • Ed Taylor

    Braley said what many Democrats here in DC believe. They believe ‘farmers’ are not their equals. They view farmers or the Midwest in general as backwards serfs.

    This high-brow derision isn’t reserved for only farmers or non-college educated, they believe the same about Midwesterners who attend the ‘wrong’ college. Iowa State, University of Wisconsin, Ohio State, University of Michigan? Forget it.

    The east coast high brows, and the Midwest high brow wannabes on the left believe if you didn’t go to an Ivy League school, well darling…you are uneducated.

    Braley desperately wants to join the east cast high brow club. He believes heaping scorn on those who feed the nation will gain him campaign donations from the high brows he wants to join.

    Iowa can do better than Braley.

    • rene demonteverde

      Yet many Iowans are Democrats. Go figure. Many Democrat liberals look down on people working with their hands. Look at Obama. Never did work
      an honest day of his life. And they look up to him.

    • Gino Schafer

      An elitist liberal lawyer deriding a man who came from one of the most noble professions of all, a farmer, in the heart of farm country.

      Talk about dumb. I assume that he has just sunk his chances at getting elected. If not, Iowans deserve what they get.

      • teapartyidiots

        So, you’d rather someone who knows nothing about the law chairing the judiciary committee?

  • Ernie Musicman

    Making fun of farmers in Iowa…brilliant. He must have gone to Harvard with the President….you know, the one that has been to almost all 57 states.

  • Armyspouse1988

    To put this in STARK CONTRAST–you’re candidacy is TOAST, Mr. Braley.

  • cirrusclouds

    Garnering support from Texas trial lawyers and highlighting that he is one of them while at the same time dissing Iowa farmers has to be be one of the dumbest mistakes of this election cycle. There is so much fodder from this video for upcoming attack ads. ~ 99% of the lawyers make the rest look bad.

  • Likely_Suspect

    Just run that clip in every Iowa market, Braley will be back-pedaling the whole time or get snarky about the fact that he “apologized” & the matter is closed. Elitist dem caught on camera saying what he really thinks.

  • Mungo+Park

    Farming is the major activity in Iowa. It seems silly to belittle farmers there, but don’t worry, it won’t change much.

    Here in Illinois, corruption is the major activity.* Many of us have been belittling corruption for years, but it hasn’t changed at all.

    *We even export it.

  • u2u2u2

    Uh duh wut he say I just a heyseed farmur I not get it

  • capisce

    If only Grassley had ‘community organizer’ on his resume – his credentials for any office would be unchallenged.

    • mattr

      Or trial lawyer. When I think of admirable professions, trial lawyers are always at the top of my list.

  • Bill Fairweather

    One thing us dumb old farmers know, it’s damn hard to put the horse back into the barn when the barn is on fire. Good luck with your campaign Mr. Trial Lawyer/Idiot.

  • BeevaloBill

    Democrat elitism – its what’s for dinner.

  • hateful1

    Braley is dead-meat. Iowa can do better

  • INTJ

    A politician from Iowa should know better than to denigrate farmers. And I think many of us outside the Beltway think we’d be better off with more farmers, and fewer lawyers in charge.

  • mattr

    If we put 100 Farmers in the Senate, I bet this country would function a 1000x better than it does currently

  • Samuel Adams

    Can’t walk back an epic pecker dance like that one.

  • Bob_Oscar

    I bet this guy isn’t even a good lawyer.

  • Pale Ryder

    Where certain efforts are restricted and new ways of doing things are prohibited, we reach a point where our current knowledge shackles us to the known ways of today.

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