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Tim Pawlenty aide Vin Weber apologizes for saying Michele Bachmann has "sex appeal"

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty speaks during a town hall meeting Monday, May 23, 2011, at the State of Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines, Iowa.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Tim Pawlenty, Iowa
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty speaks during a town hall meeting Monday, May 23, 2011, at the State of Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines, Iowa.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Vin Weber, a top adviser for GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty, apologized Wednesday night for comments he made citing "sex appeal" as one of the reasons for fellow Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's success.

Weber, a co-chairman of Pawlenty's political action committee, said in a Wednesday interview with the Hill that "sex appeal," along with hometown appeal and ideological appeal, would make Bachmann, R-Minn., "very hard to beat" in Iowa.

"She's got hometown appeal, she's got ideological appeal, and, I hate to say it, but she's got a little sex appeal too," Weber said.

In a Wednesday night statement, Weber quickly walked back the remarks.

"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."

The controversy highlights apparent tensions between the two campaigns: both Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, and Bachmann, a current Minnesota Representative, are social conservatives who are counting on strong Iowa performances to solidify their roles in the contest. Bachmann, however, has recently seen a surge in the polls while Pawlenty's strength appears to have taken a dip.

Pawlenty condemned Weber's comments as "wrong" in remarks to reporters Wednesday night.

"I don't believe that he or anyone else should be using as a reference somebody's sex appeal to judge their fitness for office or the strength of their campaign," he said, according to the New York Times. "It was a wrong statement. He should not have been making that reference."

Bachmann's campaign has so far declined to comment on the matter.