UPDATE (10:35 p.m.): Schuette called the release of the video a “Planned Parenthood, Democrat hit job on me” during a televised debate Friday night, The Detroit News reported.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Thursday he was embarrassed by a viral video of him speaking suggestively to a female interviewer while he was a member of Congress nearly 30 years ago.
In the 1989 video, Schuette, now the Republican nominee for governor, adjusted his tie and licked his lips as he spoke with an off-camera woman positioning him for an interview.
“I will be happy to move closer to the lamp,” Schuette told her. “I will do anything you want. Some things I may not let you run the camera on.”
When the interviewer told him she was trying to make him appear as good as possible on camera, he replied by comparing her to famous artists: “It is no easy task. I admire your tenacity. I appreciate your spirit of Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and Toulouse-Lautrec.”
The video went viral after it was posted to Twitter on Thursday by American Bridge 21st Century, the American Ledger’s parent organization. Many users — and the Detroit Metro Times — described his comments and tone as “creepy.”
In a statement, Schuette called his comments a “poor attempt to be humorous 30 years ago,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
“The video, which appears to be edited with only one short portion shown, has been in the public domain for some time,” he said, before bringing up his wife, Cynthia, whom he married after an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1990. “It’s fortunate for me that Cynthia came into my life and let me know that I am not a very funny guy, but this is no less embarrassing to me today and I regret it.”
Schuette’s Democratic opponent, former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, responded by criticizing his record on women’s issues.
“I imagine everyone who’s watched it had the same uncomfortable look on our faces,” Whitmer wrote on Twitter. “But even more troubling is the fact that Schuette has spent the past 33 years in office attacking the rights of women and working to take away our access to contraception and health care.”