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DNC chairwoman: Walker 'has given women the back of his hand'

By Ashley Killough, CNN
updated 12:24 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • DNC chairwoman said Gov. Scott Walker "has given women the back of his hand"
  • Spokeswoman said she was "by no means belittling" pain of domestic abuse survivors
  • Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is "shocked" that Schultz "would use such outrageous language"

(CNN) -- The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee used domestic violence analogies while attacking Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin on Wednesday.

At an event on women's issues in Milwaukee, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted Walker for his policies, saying he "has given women the back of his hand."

"I know that is stark. I know that is direct," she continued. "I know that is reality."

She added that: "What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch."

Her remarks were first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Lily Adams, a spokeswoman for the congresswoman, did not apologize for the comments but said later in a statement to CNN that "domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue and the Congresswoman was by no means belittling the very real pain survivors experience."

"That's why Democrats have consistently supported the Violence Against Women Act and won't take a lesson from the party that blocked and opposed its reauthorization," she continued. "The fact of the matter is that Scott Walker's policies have been bad for Wisconsin's women."

The governor is fighting off a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke in a tight gubernatorial race this fall.

Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said in a statement that she is "shocked" that Schultz "would use such outrageous language to try and score political points."

"I think the remarks were absolutely hideous and the motive behind them was despicable," she said.

Stephanie Wilson, press secretary for Burke, said Schultz's comments are "not the type of language that Mary Burke would use, or has used, to point out the clear differences in this contest. For the last 11 months of this campaign, and in the final nine weeks left to go, Mary is committed to pointing out those clear differences. There is plenty that she and Gov. Walker disagree on, but those disagreements can and should be pointed out respectfully."

CNN's Dana Bash and Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

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