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Assembly Dem Clark apologizes for "smack around" woman comment

State Representative Fred Clark (D-Baraboo)
State Representative Fred Clark (D-Baraboo)

BARABOO, WI (WTAQ) - State Assembly Democrat Fred Clark of Baraboo has apologized for saying he wanted to “smack around” a woman who hung up on him during a phone call.

Clark is running against Senate Republican Luther Olsen in this summer’s recall elections.

The trouble began when Clark called potential voter Sue Stapelman. According to the Baraboo News-Republic, she let her answering machine pick up the call – but she picked up the phone a moment later. Clark told her that he was running against Olsen, and Stapleman said, “Yeah, and isn’t that a crime?”

Then, she hung up, but her answering machine kept recording. It picked up Clark saying, “I feel like calling her back and smacking her around.”

Stapleman, who works at a Baraboo hospital, told her co-workers about the remark. That apparently triggered a call from the State Republican Party, who put the recording on its Web site.

John Hogan of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate equated the “smacking around” comment to domestic violence – but not even her husband would go that far. John Stapleman did say the comment was totally inappropriate. Sue said it shows that Clark doesn’t have much respect for the voters.

Clark apologized, left a call with the Staplemans, and said he would speak to them as soon as he can.