Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Iowa, recently warned trial lawyers at a fundraising event in Texas that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would be ill-prepared to head the Senate Judiciary Committee should Republicans win a majority in November.
Braley's reasoning? Grassley is "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school," he said in a video clip from the event, circulated by Republicans on Tuesday.
“To put this in stark contrast, if you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone’s who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary Committee, or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee," Braley said. "Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee."
Grassley does indeed own a farm, but he has also served as a state or federal elected lawmaker since 1959.
Republicans immediately latched on to Braley's remarks, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee calling it "Bruce Braley's 47 percent moment," an allusion to the controversial remark Mitt Romney made at a fundraiser during his presidential campaign.
“Bruce Braley thinks the way to suck up to Texas trial lawyers is by bashing Iowa farmers. How out of touch with Iowa can you be?" said Joni Ernst, a state senator who is among the Republican field seeking to challenge Braley. "I call on Braley to immediately apologize to Senator Grassley, and every other farmer in Iowa."
Braley did apologize later to Grassley for his remarks, “I respect Sen. Grassley and enjoy our working relationship even though we disagree on some issues," Braley said.
"I have tremendous respect for Iowa farmers and appreciate how important they are to our state, and I’m grateful to have the support of hundreds of farmers across Iowa,” Braley added.
Braley, who has been outpacing his potential Republican opponents in polling thus far, is running to replace Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who will retire at the end of his term.