That’s no lady, that’s my congresswoman

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, the embattled 4th District incumbent (a Republican, though you wouldn’t know that from her first TV ad), told Colorado delegates to the RNC on Thursday that she’s had a secret weapon in her election campaigns: Male opponents have had to treat her more deferentially, “like a lady.”

Musgrave was talking about the advantage her sex gives John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, since Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, a “scrapper,” can’t go after her the way he could a man. Politicker CO’s Jeremy Pelzer reports Musgrave told Colorado delegates to the Republican National Convention:

“So Joe is a little bit disarmed, let me tell you, because he’s going to be debating Sarah, and her strength and her courage is going to come through,” Musgrave said.

Underlining her point, Musgrave, perhaps batting her eyelashes and fingering her omnipresent string of pearls, had this insight for delegates:

“But you know, one thing that I’ve found: no matter what kind of opponent I have and no matter what kind of outside groups are going to come in and attack me, when I’ve had a man for an opponent, they have to treat you like a lady.”

Trouble is, in her three bids for re-election, Musgrave has faced women “for opponents” twice, including this year when Democrat Betsy Markey holds a 50-43 lead in a poll released last week.

As for outside groups, Musgrave has been enduring a withering attack from the decidedly un-lady-like this week. (For the record, one of the three veterans attacking Musgrave in the ad is a woman.) The New York-based group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans spent $370,000 airing the 30-second ad on Denver broadcast and cable through Thursday.

Another group campaigning against Musgrave, the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, has said it plans to spend at least $500,000 on attack ads. The Gill Action Fund, headed by prominent Denver-based gay-rights activist Tim Gill, also plans to weigh in again against Musgrave, well known for her sponsorship of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would ban gay marriages nationwide.

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Ernest Luning

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