Rep. James Sensenbrenner has a big mouth. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reports today the veteran Republican legislator was overheard at a church event earlier this month disparaging the first lady’s body. Sensenbrenner told a group of church members that Michelle Obama has no business leading an anti-obesity campaign because she’s got a “big butt.” Classy guy.
It took a 72-year-old church lady to call the lawmaker on his remark. Journal-Sentinal blogger Daniel Brice has the story:
Ann Marsh-Meigs, a church member who heard Sensenbrenner’s remarks, said he took several swipes at the first lady on Dec. 10. In one, Marsh-Meigs said, the congressman claimed Michelle Obama left a recent charitable event when the media did, though Sensenbrenner’s handicapped wife continued to work.
“He then talked about how different first ladies have had different projects - Laura Bush and literacy - and he named two or three others,” Marsh-Meigs said in an interview last week. “And then he said, ‘And Michelle Obama, her project is obesity. And look at her big butt.’
“That’s basically what he said,” she continued. “It was a combination of her work on obesity and her shape.”
After news of the remark began circulating the Web, Sensenbrenner sent a letter of apology to the first lady. But a spokesperson for the jowly lawmaker told Media Bistro’s blog Fish Bowl DC that he “stands by his comments” on her obesity campaign. Fish Bowl DC first reported the story yesterday, when a tipster overheard Sensenbrenner on the phone in the airport reacting to Brice’s questions about the incident.
Marsh-Meigs told the Journal Sentinal that she was the only woman at the table when Sensenbrenner made his remark. She suspects the congressman figured she was too busy with her knitting to notice.
“I was sitting next to him, and I felt he should be called on it,’” said the 72-year-old retiree. “I just said, ‘I just happen to think Michelle Obama is a beautiful and elegant lady, and I think she dresses beautifully.’ And then he said, ‘Oh, well, I think she’s elegant, too.’ He just started back-pedaling.”
Sensenbrenner’s name will be familiar to many Colorlines.com readers. He was the author and lead spokesperson for the infamous 2005 House bill that would have turned all undocumented immigrants into felons and, among other things, criminalized clergy who provided them support.