The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday for a second time came under fire for comments about Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes deemed sexist by Democrats.
"Is Allison Grimes The New 'Obama Girl'?" the tweet asked.
It linked to a post on Kentucky political blog Bluegrass Bulletin that included the picture and noted Lundergan Grimes's appearance at a fundraiser for female Democratic Senate candidates at which Michelle Obama spoke.
Iris Wilbur, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign political director, retweeted the NRSC’s tweet.
The tweet has since been deleted, and the photo removed from the Bluegrass Bulletin site, but both were preserved by The Huffington Post, which first reported the tweet.
Democrats were quick to hammer the NRSC, with Lundergan Grimes charging in a statement that the tweet was evidence McConnell is out of touch with women.
“The NRSC should stand for Notoriously Repeating Sexist Comments — they cannot relate or connect with the women of Kentucky or our country. The incredibly inappropriate comments from Sen. McConnell’s team mark a developing pattern and demonstrate just how out of touch McConnell is with the women of Kentucky,” she said.
She also referenced a previous comment from the NRSC that Democrats charged was sexist. In an interview with The Hill earlier this year, the committee's spokesman called Lundergan Grimes an "empty dress," a statement that sparked a firestorm of criticism from Democrats.
“As I have said, I am proud to wear a dress, and as Kentucky’s more than 2 million women know, it is not what is in the dress that matters. It is what is in the head, and I will stack my head up against Sen. McConnell’s any day," Lundergan Grimes said on Tuesday.
While the NRSC stood by its previous "empty dress" comments, this time, NRSC spokeswoman Brook Hougesen apologized for the tweet.
“We agree, it’s extremely offensive. It was a mistake made by a junior staffer and disciplinary action has been taken,” she said. “We took corrective action as soon as it was brought to our attention and have taken steps to ensure it will never happen again.”
But McConnell's campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore called the focus on the tweet "pathetic," and suggested it was meant to "distract from the real news."
“It is really pathetic that the Grimes campaign is more worried about what some intern in the basement of the NRSC is tweeting rather than talking about the real issues facing Kentucky, but I am sure we will see this call from their playbook time and time again,” Moore said.
McConnell's campaign account later tweeted out a photo of the campaign staff meeting that featured seven staffers, six of them women, sitting around a conference table smiling for the camera.
Democrats believe McConnell's positions on women's issues could be a liability for him in a race against a young female candidate, and they've taken every opportunity to highlight developments in the race they believe indicate that he's out-of-touch with women.