Carmona apologizes for quip about CNN's Crowley

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Arizona Senate candidate Richard Carmona said Friday that he's sorry for telling a male debate moderator that he was "prettier" than CNN Anchor Candy Crowley.

The comment came during a very heated debate Thursday between Carmona and his Republican rival, Congressman Jeff Flake. At one point, the moderator tried lightening the mood by saying, "now I know  how Candy Crowley feels."

"You're prettier," Carmona said.

Carmona, a Democrat, wasn't available for comment, but his campaign issued the following brief statement: "I regret the remark and I apologize."

The comment comes at a critical time as Flake has been trying to paint Carmona as someone who has problems with anger and with women. And when he heard about Carmona's apology, Flake said his opponent did what he needed to do.

"I'm glad he's apologized, he should have apologized, that was not a funny joke under any circumstance," Flake said after holding a Town Hall-style forum in Mesa.

The day after the debate, national media organizations like Talking Points Memo, Time Magazine, and The Atlantic had jumped all over the story. The attention underscores how the stakes have been raised in a race that was once thought of as an easy win for Republicans.

The outcome of this race could tip the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, as Republicans are hopeful they can win enough seats to wrest control from Democrats.