Charlie Baker’s plan to win over women voters hit a snag Tuesday after he dismissively called a female political reporter “sweetheart.’’
Baker, the Republican candidate for Massachusetts governor, was answering questions from a group of journalists when Fox 25 political reporter Sharman Sacchetti began to ask a question about Democratic criticisms.
“Democrats are saying, they just put out an email–’’ Saccheti began before being interrupted.
“Ok, this is going to be the last one, sweetheart,’’ Baker said, patting her on the shoulder.
“Sweetheart?’’ Saccheti responded.
“I’m kidding,’’ Baker said.
The short exchange comes at about 1:00 into the video.
The interaction was harshly criticized by the Boston Herald’s Jessica Haslem, who called it a “sexist slip-up.’’ Baker’s comment even made national news when it was picked up by BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and TPM.
On Tuesday night, Saccheti tweeted that Baker had called to apologize.
Baker also put out a statement to the Boston Herald apologizing for the interaction, and then again apologized to reporters today.
“I did call Sharman last night, apologized and she was gracious enough to accept my apology. My comment was a mistake and certainly doesn’t represent my work, my attitude or what I am all about,’’ he said, according to Baker’s campaign manager Tim Buckley.
The snafu highlights Baker’s uphill battle in gaining support from women voters, who have so far heavily supported the Democratic candidate for governor, Martha Coakley. In WBUR’s latest poll, 50 percent of women voters support Coakley compared to just 26 percent for Baker.