N. J. candidate apologizes for sex-advice tweets

Phil Mitsch is running for state Senate in the 6th District.
Phil Mitsch is running for state Senate in the 6th District.
Posted: October 21, 2011

After initially refusing to apologize for his sex-advice tweets, New Jersey Senate candidate Phil Mitsch sounded more contrite in a statement released early Thursday evening.

"I would like to sincerely apologize for any offense I may have caused anyone, particularly women, as a result of a Twitter post that has recently been reported," Mitsch said.

He then explained the basis for the controversial tweet he posted Sept. 2 to his more than 44,000 followers: "Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom."

"The specific tweet in question is an age-old saw most notably quoted by Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger's ex-wife, in the early 1990's: 'My mother said in order to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom,' " the Republican candidate said in the statement. "I updated her quote with the fact that men should 'be faithful, a gentleman in the living room and a stud in the bedroom,' but looking back, I didn't update the original terminology enough to reflect 21st century sensibilities."

Camden County GOP Chairman Thomas Booth Jr., who demanded the apology and threatened to pull support for Mitsch's candidacy in the Sixth Legislative District, could not be reached immediately for comment. In an earlier interview Thursday, he said he wanted any apology from Mitsch to show that Mitsch understands why the tweet was offensive and why it was wrong to put it on Twitter.

Mitsch will face Democratic incumbent State Sen. James Beach in the Nov. 8 election. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 among registered voters in the Camden County district.

Mitsch's sex tips on Twitter drew the wrath of both parties after they came to light late last week.

Democrats called on Mitsch to drop out of the race. On Wednesday, the state GOP said his comment made him "unfit for public office."

State GOP spokesman Rick Gorka said Thursday, after reading the apology, that "our position will not change."

Booth initially supported Mitsch, saying Mitsch made a mistake but was still a great candidate. On Thursday, Booth changed his mind and demanded an apology for the offensive tweets.

"I just really wanted to give the guy the benefit of the doubt," he said. "It's inappropriate and I'm offended, quite frankly, as a husband to a loving and supportive wife and having two daughters myself."

In an interview Thursday morning, Mitsch defended his tweet.

"I am definitely not apologizing for those two tweets at all," he said. "They were relationship tips. 'Stud in the bedroom' and 'whore in the bedroom,' those are timeworn adages."

During an editorial board meeting at The Inquirer on Wednesday, he said, "That's a great tip. . . . That shows the utmost respect for women. . . . What I was trying to say to men was, 'Men, look, if you got to go out and play around and you can't be honest with a woman and respect her, then you're better off just doing pay, play, and get the 'f' away.'"

In his apology statement, Mitsch tried again to explain himself.

"I tweeted my version as a useful piece of advice to both men and women in order to increase their odds for having healthy, successful and long-term relationships," he said. "I never meant this tip to offend anyone. I have the utmost respect for all women, and, win or lose, this quote won't be used again by me in any form."

Mitsch, a prolific Twitter user with the handle @philmitsch, follows more than 44,000 people, which explains in part his own massive following.

Booth said in the many conversations he had with Mitsch, he never got the impression that he was "antiwoman."

"Believe you me, if I had heard that or believed that, we would not be at this point, because he would not be on the ballot," Booth said.

Booth took over as chairman of the party in March when Mitsch was already the established candidate, he said. Booth said he never looked at Mitsch's Twitter account, which includes more than 68,000 tweets about finances, politics, life lessons and relationship advice.

Mitsch, 62, of Merchantville, ran unopposed in the June primary. Beach, 64, a former Camden County clerk, has been a senator since 2009.

Neither the state GOP nor the Camden GOP has contributed to Mitsch's campaign, according to a state GOP spokesman and Booth.

On Mitsch's personal website, he calls himself "the real estate industry's all-time top-producing residential Realtor." He has argued that his knowledge of the housing market and the economy makes him more qualified than Gov. Christie to manage the state's economic woes.

Christie's spokesman did not respond to e-mails about Mitsch's comments Wednesday.

Asked if he's worried that the tweets may hinder his chances of beating Beach in the Nov. 8 election, Mitsch said he didn't care.

"How the voter interprets my response to [the tweets], I don't care. I don't care if I get elected or not," Mitsch said. "People came after me to run. It would be a tragedy to be denied . . . over stupid tweets that are misinterpreted."

Contact staff writer Joelle Farrell at jfarrell@phillynews.com, 856-779-3237 or @joellefarrell on Twitter.

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