GOP lawmaker stands by 'sluts' comments: 'I was paid to be provocative'
© Greg Nash

Minnesota Rep. Jason LewisJason LewisRep. Angie Craig defends Minnesota House seat in race clouded by legal confusion Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Klobuchar 'feeling good' about Democrats taking control of Senate MORE (R) on Thursday stood by contentious comments he made during a 2012 radio show segment, in which he lamented his inability in modern society to call women who take "a series of lovers” a “slut.”

A CNN investigation revealed on Wednesday the old comments from the "Jason Lewis Show."

"Does a woman now have the right to behave — and I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around — you know, I'm not going to get there, but you know what I'm talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?" Lewis asked. 

He defended his past statements on Thursday. 

"Look, a rhetorical discussion about the cultural changes and whether we can hold anyone, male or female, to standards made for an interesting hour, made for an interesting rhetorical discussion," Lewis said in an interview with local Minnesota station WCCO's "The Chad Hartman Show.” 


"That's what you're supposed to do on talk radio. And if you're provocative when you do it, well, that's part of our job. I presume, you know, the people that are running with this story are looking for ratings as well,” Lewis continued. “So, it's kind of sad that it's come back to this, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised."

Lewis also said during the interview that he wouldn’t have a problem having the same discussion on his program in the present day, either.

"I would not have a problem at all going to the same discussion ... because I don't tell my daughters to behave like some people in Hollywood behave. I still hold those standards,” Lewis said. “I think most women in the 2nd District holds those standards. And so the question becomes, have we come to a place in life where you can't hold people to those standards, and you can't shame people, male or female, for behaving in a way that our parents told us we shouldn't behave? That's really outrageous? That line of thought? That questioning? That conversation?"

The GOP lawmaker, who says he “was paid to be provocative” on his radio show, was also asked how his daughter would react to his past remarks if he made them today. 

"I would say I probably prefer you don't behave in a way that people would look down upon you, and that's what I tell them and that's how I raised them," he said. "That's controversial?" 

"There's a difference between a politician and a pundit. That's why going back six years, eight years, 10 years, 15 years, misses the point. There's a different role,” Lewis added. “That discussion you just mentioned was a rhetorical discussion about societal changes and what's happened, what's happened to shame. Do we have too much or too little of it now? Of course there's a big difference. That's the point I've been making."

Lewis was elected in 2016 with 47 percent of the vote over his Democratic challenger, Angie Craig. Craig is also running against Lewis in this cycle.