Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Monday that he was elected to office at a young age with the help of an "army of supporters" that included women who "left their kitchens" to knock on doors for him.
"How did I get elected? Nobody was -- I didn't have anybody for me. We just got an army of people and many women who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and put yard signs up for me. All the way back, when things were different. Now you call homes, and everybody's working," Kasich said at a town hall in Fairfax, Virginia.
Kasich was elected to the Ohio state Senate in 1978, before successfully running for Congress in 1982. He was re-elected as a representative eight times, serving until 2001.
A woman who attended the town hall, and asked the governor why he signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio over the weekend, suggested his remark about kitchens offended her.
"First off, I want to say your comment earlier about the women coming to support you? I'll come and support you, but I won't be coming out of the kitchen," she said.
"I got you," Kasich responded.
The governor argued that women would have ample health options in Ohio even though he defunded the health care provider because he objects to abortion.
"Are you kidding me? We have robust women's health funding in Ohio," he said.
“You don't have to be captive to delivering women’s health through a women's health organization that has discredited itself," he said of Planned Parenthood.
Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the Kasich campaign, defended the governor's comments about female voters.
"John Kasich’s campaigns have always been homegrown affairs. They’ve literally been run out of his friends’ kitchens and many of his early campaign teams were made up of stay-at-home moms who believed deeply in the changes he wanted to bring to them and their families," Schrimpf said. "That’s real grassroots campaigning and he’s proud of that authentic support. To try and twist his comments into anything else is just desperate politics."
Kasich has faced backlash for his remarks about women before. In November, he attempted to explain his experience balancing the budget in Ohio by asking a woman if she had ever dieted. And in September, he got into hot water when he told a story about a note a Latina hotel maid had left in his room.
"When I heard John Kasich's latest offensive views on women and our rights, I almost dropped the casserole I was taking out of the oven!" Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, wrote in a statement. "Women want a president who will support legal abortion, stand with Planned Parenthood, and not confine our accomplishments to those that happen 'in the kitchen.'"
In response to Kasich's comment, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted on Monday, "It's 2016. A woman's place is...wherever she wants it to be." CNN's Cassie Spodak later tweeted that Kasich said he agreed with Clinton and would be "more careful."
On Monday evening, Kasich told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the comment "wasn't intended to be offensive."
"The beginning of my campaign for public office, I did town halls, except they were in people's homes. They were at breakfast tables, at evening, when we had coffee and I recruited people. I want to be clear: We had a lot of women that played a major role in my political campaign, political life, and they still do," he said.
When Blitzer pressed the governor for an apology, saying that women found his comment "insulting," Kasich said: "I'm more than happy to say I'm sorry if I offended somebody out there, but it wasn't intended to be offensive."
This story has been updated with additional comments.
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