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In 2010, may the manliest candidate win

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Republican Sharron Angle was on the attack against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in their only campaign debate Thursday night, calling him a career politician who has voted to raise taxes more than 300 times.

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By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 15, 2010; 11:54 AM

Are the political men of 2010 not man enough for the job?

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That, it seems, is the message from their female counterparts. Sharron Angle (R) of Nevada became the latest to challenge her opponents' manhood during a debate on Thursday night, telling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) to "man up" when it comes to Social Security reform.

But Angle was not the first to question a male rival's machismo this year.

Christine O'Donnell, a few days before the Delaware primary, called Rep. Mike Castle (R) "unmanly" after he filed an election law complaint against her.

"This is not a bake-off - get your man-pants on," O'Donnell told a radio host.

Before that, Jane Norton, running for the Republican Senate nomination in Colorado, accused Ken Buck, her rival, of letting "a shady interest group" do his bidding. "You'd think Ken would be man enough to do it himself." And in a similar vein, Robin Carnahan (D) of Missouri told Rep. Roy Blunt (R) to "man up" over the health-care overhaul.

It's not just the women: New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino (R) accused his Democratic rival, Andrew Cuomo, of not having "cojones" - three times! - in an open letter challenging him to a debate. "Frankly, I dont think you have the cojones to face me and the other candidates in a open debate," Paladino wrote. (Back in July, Sarah Palin memorably said that President Obama lacked "the cojones" to take on illegal immigration.)

All this, in a year when male candidates have been accused of disrespecting women - from the California governor's race, with a now-infamous phone call involving Jerry Brown (D) in which Meg Whitman was discussed as a "whore," to the Ohio House race involving a male Republican candidate sued for sexual assault.

Perhaps, for the women, it's a case of one-up-man-ship?


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