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Rendell meant no disrespect to Obama pick

Dec. 3, 2008 at 7:53 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who drew criticism for a comment about the new U.S. homeland security secretary nominee, meant no disrespect, a spokesman said.

The Democratic governor's comments about Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano have been called by some as sexist. Rendell said Tuesday that Napolitano is "perfect" for the homeland security job because she has no family to divert her attention, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

"Janet's perfect for that job," Rendell said. "Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it."

His words were picked up by an open microphone at the podium of the National Governors Conference in Philadelphia.

Chuck Ardo, spokesman for Rendell said the governor takes Napolitano's qualifications "for granted," the newspaper reported.

"His comments simply referred to the demands of the new position that she is going to take," Ardo said. "He intends to call her, but he meant no disrespect."

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