LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Larry Elder, a leading Republican candidate in the California recall election on Sept. 14, is taking heat for his past comments about women.
"He actually wrote an op-ed saying women are not as smart as men on issues of civic affairs, on issues of economics, on issues of politics," Gov. Gavin Newsom said last Friday.
At a recall debate Tuesday night in Sacramento that Elder did not attend, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer criticized Elder, not just for statements made in his 2002 book, but for what he wrote in a 2000 article in Capitalism Magazine titled "Democrats and the 'She' Vote."
"Larry Elder should be here to defend his positions, but he's not. I think many of those are absolutely indefensible. I was reading some this morning, and I wrote it down," Faulconer said at the debate.
"When he said that women 'know less than men,' that they are easier to 'manipulate' and that he believes that it is OK to discriminate against women, including pregnant women in the workplace - that's bull****," Faulconer added. "We gotta call it that - all of us on this stage and everybody running for governor. That's not who we are as Californians."
On Wednesday morning, Eyewitness News asked Elder to respond.
In the 2000 column, Elder wrote "Women know less than men about political issues, economics, and current events. Good news for Democrats, bad news for Republicans. For the less one knows, the easier the manipulation."
When questioned by Eyewitness News reporter Josh Haskell if he believed that men are smarter than women, Elder countered by asking "Is that what I said? Men are smarter than women?"
When it was noted how the question was asked in response to a direct quote from the column and that Faulconer mentioned it at the debate, Elder responded by saying: "You quoted a study done by the Annenberg School, not exactly a right-wing organization, that looked at 25 issues that turned out men were more knowledgeable about 15 of those issues."
In the Capitalism Magazine op-ed, Elder did quote that Annenberg study, but it appears later in the article, after his controversial comment about women. Elder did not respond to Faulconer's criticism.
Also at Tuesday night's debate, an odd moment occurred when candidate John Cox was served with a subpoena in the middle of the debate regarding fees from Cox's 2018 campaign for governor.