Charlie Baker, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, called a female reporter "sweetheart" while dismissing her question about domestic violence in the NFL, Blue Mass Group reported on Wednesday.
The reporter, Fox 25's Sharman Sacchetti, had asked Baker at a "Women for Charlie" event last week whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be fired over mishandling cases of players involved in domestic violence incidents. Baker told Sacchetti he wasn't sure and would "need more data." But after several days of attacks on the issue from his Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, Baker changed his tune said Goodell should be fired.
In a follow-up interview this week, Sacchetti started to ask Baker whether Democrats would start running attack ads on him because of his uncertainty on the Goodell situation. But Baker interrupted her question.
"Okay, this is gonna be the last one sweetheart," Baker said, putting his hand on Sacchetti's shoulder.
"Sweetheart?" Sacchetti replied.
Baker then said he was "kidding."
The latest statewide Rasmussen poll shows Baker in a dead heat with Coakley. He has lately been reaching out to women voters and featuring his wife and daughter in campaign ads in an attempt to tip the race in his favor.
“We raised kids in a two-working-parent household, so we’re quite familiar with … all the issues that affect working families and women," Baker said Tuesday. "I have a 17-year-old daughter. I want her to have every opportunity to do whatever she wants with her life. And when I was at Harvard Pilgrim, seven of the 12 directors on my board of directors were women. And a big piece of our management team was.”
Baker's campaign did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement released Tuesday night, Baker said, “I apologize to Sharman, as she is an accomplished professional and someone who I have come to both respect and consider a friend.”
This story has been updated to include Baker's apology statement.