In a Pa Bar Association interview in 1997, Republican Joan Orie Melvin was asked how she could juggle being a Superior Court judge and a mother of six. "I walked out of that interview totally demeaned,'" said Melvin, now a Supreme Court judge, in one of many stories 13 years ago about the line of questioning. "I am feeling that there is a real bias against working moms."
What about working dads? Another parent of six -- 4th District GOP candidate Keith Rothfus (with family above) -- is now saying much the same thing about comments from his primary opponent Mary Beth Buchanan, after she told the Post-Gazette Sunday that she would be a better congressional choice since she does "not have other responsibilities -- as my primary opponent should be concerned about."
"If you did that in an interview in the private sector there'd be a discrimination lawsuit filed," the Edgeworth attorney told the Post-Gazette's editorial board today. "That is not a legitimate consideration for whether somebody should get a job. . . That's insulting. It's breathtaking in 2010 somebody would have a comment like that and mean it."
It's all the more interesting given that Buchanan, 46, has a well-known biography that includes working her way through college and law school after becoming a young mother at age 16. "It's a fact. He does have other potential districtions. Somebody who doesn't have any children left at home -- I don't have that distraction," she explained at the same board meeting today. "I didn't say they couldn't [have a job while parenting]. I just said it's a factor."
A question was also put to Rothfus why -- as a relative unknown compared to the headline-grabbling former US Attorney -- he would introduce himself to voters with an attack ad, on the time Buchanan told KDKA talker Marty Griffin to "shut up" in February. "I think it's fair because I think my opponent does have an attitude. And I think it's fair because we want somebody [in Washington] who is going to listen to us," Rothfus said.
"I don't agree with my opponent's negativity," Buchanan responded, "which he has come out with increasingly because he sees he is not gaining traction with the voters, and he doesn't have the experience that I do. . . If the point is Washington isn't listening -- which actually is my statement that I've been saying in every meeting, which he's now picked up -- if Washington isn't listening, maybe we do need ask them to shut up."
"You all know Marty," she said. "I just wanted him to let me answer the question. I wish I hadn't used the words 'shut up.' You live and learn."