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McKenna, State Democrats Spar Over "Get A Job" Video

Video shows McKenna's reaction after being approached in the street by a woman asking about his stance on the Reproductive Parity Act.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican gubernatorial candidate and Bellevue resident, and the Washington State Democrats traded barbs this week, after a video surfaced showing McKenna telling a woman to "get a job" after she approached him on a Seattle street and asked about his stance on the Reproductive Parity Act.

The woman in the video, Kendra Obom, approached McKenna as he exited the Red Lion Conference Center in Seattle, and asked him what he thought of the state legislation, which would have required that insurance plans in the state that cover maternity care include coverage abortions. It did not pass

McKenna declines to take a position, and then criticizes Obom for trying to "bushwhack" him for political advantage.

"My stance is I'm an lawyer for the state," McKenna says in the video. "You can turn that recorder off if you'd like, instead of trying to bushwhack me. Its not really very polite, is it? Do you think you're honest?"

He then tells the woman she's not being honest and tells her to "get a job."

The Washington State Democrats released this statement in response to the video:

McKenna's response, as well as his verbal attacks on Kendra Obom, run close to the new national Republican standard when asked about issues relating to a woman's right to choose: ignore the question, attack the questioner. It also raises more questions about McKenna's actual views on women's reproductive rights. The Reproductive Parity Act has been the main choice issue facing Washington State this year, yet McKenna has repeatedly dodged questions about his stance on it, despite his campaign spokesperson saying last week that candidates should weigh in on issues in Olympia.

"The reproductive parity act is an important issue for me and the various communities I come from," Obom said. "It affects my family, peers and the young women I work with. It stopped me in my tracks to experience both his aggression and disregard for me as an interested community member and as a voter. Rob McKenna has still failed to answer my question, and ultimately, I expect him to."

Read the entire press release on their website. The Seattle Times reported that that Obom has a job, working for YMCA youth programs. (She identifies herself in the video as a "youth worker.")

McKenna, through his campaign, released the following statement in response to the coverage and the video:

I support our existing, voter-approved state law which guarantees women access to insurance coverage for reproductive healthcare.  I do not support changing the law in a way that could put federal funding of women's healthcare at risk.  Supporters of changes to our existing state law evidently believe that the new federal healthcare law will jeopardize women's access to health insurance which covers reproductive healthcare; if true, that would be an unfortunate consequence of a massive bill which few in Congress bothered to read before voting on it.

What do you think? Fair question or an ambush in an election year? Tell us in the comments.

V Buhain April 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM
What I find interesting in the video is that it shows that almost any moment can turn into a "gotcha" moment because it's so easy for anyone to circulate videos now, for better or for worse.
Stephen Miller April 27, 2012 at 04:35 AM
It is only a gotcha moment if you are trying to hide your true identity from the voters. McKenna is not a moderate nor does he respect the right of women to make their own healthcare choices. At any moment I can share my opinion on taxes, healthcare, equal marriage, and the environment without fear of being filmed or taped because I'm not hiding my true feelings.
Heidi Dean April 27, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I'm tired of poopstirrers from both parties. I think this is a prime example of political poopstirring. I would hope that people make their voting decisions based upon their own candidate research and not based upon some stupid video shot by someone with a pretty obvious agenda. And before anyone responds to accuse me of being a Republican... I'm not. I just don't like tactics like this and I see it on both sides. It's one of many reasons I'll never identify with either party.
Venice Buhain April 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Stephen: Perhaps "gotcha" wasn't the right term on my part. While anyone can be caught off guard, this isn't the first time (and won't be the last) that a citizen has caught a politician in a less than politic moment. Heidi: Earlier today, I planned to respond to you that I would think that a video like this one would just confirm what a person already thought about the candidate, no matter what side he or she was on. However, one of the Bellevue Patch bloggers, Paul Zohav, wrote that it did change his mind, so looks like I was wrong....

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