LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan Democrats are criticizing three male Republican lawmakers for posing in a photograph they say mocks women.

A photo was posted by a reporter on Twitter of the three state representatives holding fashion magazines during a break on the House floor. Rep. Peter Pettalia of Presque Isle tells the reporter not to say the Republicans “don’t understand women.”

Democrats quickly spread the photo on Twitter and used it to knock Republicans more broadly.

Rashida Tlaib, Representing the 6th District, was less than impressed by their humor … noting these are lawmakers representing women.

Check out Tlaib’s Twitter response

Pettalia says that his “off-the-cuff remark” was taken “way out of context.”

Petallia later explained his comment — and provided context — in a statement.

“During a short break on the House floor, Republican Rep. Gail Haines, a leading advocate on women’s issues in the Legislature, gave some of us magazines to read and asked to take our photo with them,” Petallia said.

“A member of the media then walked up behind her and snapped another photo. As part of that lighthearted moment, I made an off-the-cuff remark that has since been taken way out of context.”

House Democrats responded with a clever tweet of their own. [HERE]

It didn’t take long for Democrats around the state to weigh in.

“The war on women is alive and well in Michigan,” said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, a former state representative who was temporarily barred from speaking on the floor two years ago during a debate on a controversial abortion clinic bill.

“Now three Republican lawmakers today – all white men – made an open mockery of women on the House floor by posing with fashion magazines to showcase, in their words, that they understand women’s issues.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson suggested that the Republican lawmakers had turned the “House floor into a frat party” and said they should apologize for their “out of touch Republican agenda.”

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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