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Aide to Pawlenty Apologizes for Bachmann ‘Sex Appeal’ Statement

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- A top adviser to Tim Pawlenty’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination apologized for citing “sex appeal” as one of the assets enjoyed by a rival for the White House, U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

Former Representative Vin Weber of Minnesota, who is supporting his state’s former governor and is providing campaign advice, made the comment in an interview yesterday with The Hill newspaper as he noted how hard Bachmann will be to beat in the Iowa caucuses, the first step on the road to the nomination.

“She’s got hometown appeal, she’s got ideological appeal,” Weber said. “And, I hate to say it, but she’s got a little sex appeal, too.”

He apologized for the comment in a statement shared by Pawlenty’s campaign.

“I made a mistake that was disrespectful to my friend Congresswoman Bachmann,” Weber said. “I’ve been a Bachmann supporter in her congressional bids and I apologize. I was not speaking on behalf of Governor Pawlenty’s campaign but nevertheless, it was inappropriate and I’m sorry.”

Pawlenty, 50, made no mention of the matter during a dinnertime speech yesterday before about 75 Republican activists in Ames, Iowa. Asked about the statement after his appearance, Pawlenty called it inappropriate.

“That was a wrong statement and he apologized and I’m glad that he did,” Pawlenty said. “He shouldn’t have been making that reference.”

Bachmann, 55, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, formally entered the Republican presidential race on June 27. Asked about Weber’s remark, Alice Stewart, her spokeswoman, declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Ames, Iowa, at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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