As speculation grows whether Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will mount a challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in 2014, Madigan is already being pressed on whether she is fit to run for office -- because she is the mother of two young children.
While at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. last week, reporters asked Madigan whether she could be governor and still raise her daughters, who are ages 4 and 7.
"Wow. Does anybody ever ask that question?" she responded. "I'm very lucky to have the support of my family. My husband helps take care of our kids. But, I think more people should ask that of men running for office as well."
More from the Chicago Sun-Times:
Pressed further on whether she could simultaneously hold both jobs -- governor and mom -- she said, "I can be the attorney general and do that. There are plenty of women who juggle."
Reminded that being governor is a lot more demanding than attorney general, she said, "All of these jobs are very demanding. And people who, unfortunately, have to work three jobs and don't necessarily have health-care coverage -- they’re even in a worse situation. So nobody needs to give any pity on what elected officials have to endure."
Female candidates tend to face far more questions about whether they can be both politicians and fit parents than male candidates do. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), for example, has received virtually no questions on the topic since being chosen as Mitt Romney's running mate, even though he is the father of young children. That treatment stands in stark contrast to the criticism that Sarah Palin received in 2008.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post noted that the Sun-Times story never identified which reporter "pressed" and "reminded" Madigan on the matter.
Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Madigan, told him, "It's my understanding it was a Sun Times reporter, but you'd have to confirm with the paper who was the one asking." The paper did not return Wemple's request for comment.
(HT: Name It. Change It.)