Alan Grayson Stands by "K Street Whore" Comment

(grayson.house.gov)
Updated 6:13 p.m. ET

NOTE: Grayson has now apologized for the comments. Read more here.

Outspoken Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is under fire from both Republicans and Democrats after a month-old radio interview was posted online in which Grayson is heard calling an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke a "K Street whore."

You can hear Grayson making the comment about the Bernanke adviser, who is named Linda Robertson, here. "This lobbyist, this K street whore, is trying to teach me about economics," he said.

Grayson has been widely criticized for his comment, as Politico and the Associated Press report. Republican Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Grayson is "out of control," while Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner asked, "Is this news to you that this guy's one fry short of a Happy Meal?"

"Alan Grayson's latest comments are disgraceful, inappropriate and disrespectful to women," RNC Co-Chairman Jan Larimer said, calling on Grayson to issue an apology.

That seems unlikely to happen. Todd Jurkowski, Grayson's spokesman, sent an email to Hotsheet standing by the comment and further criticizing Robertson.

"Let's be clear about the context," he said. "The attack was on her professional career, not her personal life."

"She attacked the Congressman and his efforts to promote a Republican bill to audit the Federal Reserve," Jurkowski said. "She actually questioned his understanding of the difference between fiscal and monetary policy. She had the audacity to attack a Congressman who used to be an economist. She's a career lobbyist who used to work for Enron and advocates for whatever she gets paid to promote."

K Street is where many Washington lobbyists work, and "K Street whore" is a derogatory – though not uncommon – phrase used to describe them in the nation's capital. Grayson, who wants to limit the power of the Fed, made the comment while appearing on the Alex Jones radio show.

Just a few months ago, Grayson was a Florida House freshman with virtually no national name recognition. But he burst onto the scene in September when he suggested on the House floor that the Republican health care plan is "to die quickly if you get sick."

Called upon to apologize for those comments, Grayson instead apologized to "the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America."

Earlier this month he set up a Web site called NamesOfTheDead.com intended to draw attention to people who die without health coverage. (Republicans suggested it was more about Grayson drawing attention to himself.)

Last month, Grayson told Hotsheet that "people like a Democrat with guts."

His campaign has regularly sent out releases trumpeting Grayson's fundraising – it says he raised more than $250,000 in the first three weeks of October – and potential opponents seem to be shying away from challenging Grayson even though he is a House freshman from a swing district.

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