Joni Ernst (file photo)

Joni Ernst (file photo)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst says she’s “greatly offended” by a remark Democratic Senator Tom Harkin made last week in Ames and Harkin issued a written apology this afternoon. Video of Harkin’s remark at a gathering of Story County Democrats was posted online by Buzzfeed yesterday. Harkin said Ernst was “really attractive” and “sounds nice” in her campaign ads.

“I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa,” Harkin said, to extended applause from the Democratic crowd.

Ernst was asked about Harkin’s remark this morning during an appearance on FOX News.

“I was very offended that Senator Harkin would say that. I think it’s unfortunate that he and many of their party believe you can’t be a real woman if you’re conservative and you’re female,” Ernst said on the “FOX & friends” morning show. “Again, I am greatly offended about that.”

Ernst said if her first name were John instead of Joni, Harkin would not have said those things.

Harkin issued the following written statement via email: “I shouldn’t have said those things, I know that. I regret anytime someone feels offended by what I have said, but I am only human and I can make mistakes sometimes in how I say something. In fact, I have complimented her on running a very good campaign.”

(This post was updated at 2:57 p.m. with additional information.)