WASHINGTON — The Florida Democrat who said Republicans wanted sick people to "die quickly" is apologizing for a new bout of inflammatory rhetoric, in which he used a derogatory term for women.
Rep. Alan Grayson said late Tuesday that it was inappropriate for him to call Federal Reserve advisor Linda Robertson a "K Street whore" during an interview last month on the "Alex Jones Show," a syndicated talk radio program.
Robertson is a former top Enron lobbyist and Clinton administration advisor who was hired by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to help with congressional relations as lawmakers are seeking more oversight of the agency. Washington's K Street is where many lobbyists have offices.
"I offer my sincere apology," Grayson said in a statement, hours after his spokesman defended his comments. "I did not intend to use a term that is often, and correctly, seen as disrespectful of women."
In the radio interview, Grayson took exception to Robertson's role, saying she was not qualified to criticize congressional efforts.
"Here I am the only member of Congress who actually worked as an economist, and this lobbyist, this K Street whore, is trying to teach me about economics," he said.
Erin Matson, a vice president of the National Organization for Women, called the slur "absolutely inappropriate."
"Would he have singled out a male lobbyist and said the same thing?" she said in an interview Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve declined to comment.
Grayson drew strong criticism last month for saying the GOP's healthcare plan amounted to wanting people to "die quickly" when they got sick.
He stood by those comments, leveraging the attention into a series of national television appearances in which he ridiculed Republicans as "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals." He boasted that the controversy had helped fill his campaign coffers.