Ohio Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich caused a stir Monday when he said women "left their kitchens" to help him get elected to the Ohio state Senate in 1978.
"How did I get elected?" Kasich asked. "Nobody was — I didn't have anybody for me. We just got an army of people who — and many women who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and to put yard signs up for me."
Later, a supporter referenced his comment and said: "I'll come to support you, but I won't be coming out of the kitchen."
A spokesperson for Kasich responded to criticism of the comment by arguing that Kasich's campaigns have always been "homegrown" affairs literally run out of kitchens, including those of stay-at-home moms:
And as the Washington Post's Philip Bump noted, it's true that fewer women worked outside the home in 1978. But that doesn't make the comment look much better, especially in light of Kasich's record on women's issues.
Criticisms of Kasich on women's issues go beyond remarks like this
Kasich, generally seen as "moderate," has been criticized for his extreme anti-abortion views. He appointed the president of Ohio Right to Life to his state medical board, and about half of Ohio's abortion clinics have closed during Kasich's tenure as governor. Advocates say the Kasich administration rejects hospital agreements that abortion clinics need to operate, for purely political reasons.
Advocates say these issues are much more serious than any offensive comments. Still, the "kitchens" comment isn't the first time Kasich has come under fire for saying something arguably tone-deaf about women's gender roles.
In November, Kasich asked a supporter at a town hall whether she had ever been on a diet in order to make a point about balancing the budget. In October, he mocked a college student's eagerness to ask him a question by telling her that he didn't "have any Taylor Swift concert tickets." And in 2012, he praised political spouses who are "at home doing the laundry" while their husbands are out getting more attention for their work.