Boxer's Comments to Rice 'Great Leap Backward for Feminism'

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was under fire Friday for comments directed at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice implying Rice could not understand the price military families will pay for the war in Iraq because she is a single woman with no children.

White House spokesman Tony Snow called Boxer's remarks, made during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting Thursday, "outrageous."

"Who pays the price [for the war]?" Boxer asked during the hearing. "I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young."

Addressing the remarks to the secretary of state, Boxer then added: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

Rice responded to Boxer's comments subsequently by saying: "I fully understand the sacrifice that the American people are making, and especially the sacrifice that our soldiers are making, men and women in uniform. I visit them. I know what they're going through. I talk to their families. I see it."

"I don't know if she was intentionally that tacky, but I do think it's outrageous," Snow told Fox News on Friday in reaction to Boxer's comment.

"Here you've got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn't have children, as if that means that she doesn't understand the concerns of parents," Snow said.

"Great leap backward for feminism," he added.

Rice told Fox News that she had been confused by Boxer's comments.

"I guess that means I don't have kids. Was that the purpose?" Rice said. "At the time I just found it a bit confusing, frankly, in retrospect. I thought single women had come further than that."

In a statement to Fox News on Friday, Boxer didn't back down from her comments, saying, "I spoke the truth at the committee hearing, which is that neither Secretary Rice nor I have family members that will pay the price for this escalation."

"My point was to focus attention on our military families who continue to sacrifice because this administration has not developed a political solution to the situation in Iraq," Boxer said.

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