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DNC chair: Gov. Scott Walker has given women 'the back of his hand'

Debbie Wasserman Schultz used domestic violence language to describe politics when she said Republican Gov. Scott Walker "has given women the back of his hand."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks about a drop in state tax collections and a weak jobs report on Aug. 29, 2014, in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks about a drop in state tax collections and a weak jobs report on Aug. 29, 2014, in Madison, Wis.

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday defended the language she used the previous day to tear into Republican Gov. Scott Walker, saying he "has given women the back of his hand."

"I shouldn’t have used the words I used," the Florida congresswomen said in an emailed statement to msnbc. "But that shouldn't detract from the broader point that I was making that Scott Walker’s policies have been bad for Wisconsin women, whether it's mandating ultrasounds, repealing an equal pay law or rejecting federal funding for preventative health care, Walker's record speaks for itself."

During a round table discussion on women's issues at the Milwaukee Athletic Club in Walker's home state of Wisconsin on Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz said the governor "has given women the back of his hand."

"I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality," she said.

She added: "What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday on the event.

In response to Wasserman Schultz's comments, DNC Deputy Communications Director Lily Adams said the Democratic party consistently supports the Violence Against Women Act.

"Domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue and the congresswoman was by no means belittling the very real pain survivors experience," she wrote in an email to msnbc. "The fact of the matter is that Scott Walker's policies have been bad for Wisconsin's women."

During her speech, Wasserman Schultz criticized the Wisconsin governor for his opposition to a proposal that would raise the state's minimum wage, which is currently the same as the $7.25 federal rate. As Democrats across the country try to raise state minimum wages, Republicans blame them for using equal pay measures as a distraction ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

A judge earlier this summer unsealed documents that shed light upon allegations that Walker illegally coordinated fundraising and spending between his campaign and conservative groups two years ago during recall elections. Walker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, has repeatedly denied that his campaign fundraising or relationships with business groups are inappropriate.

A recent poll showed Walker trailing his Democratic challenger Mary Burke by two points. The candidates will face off during the midterm election on Nov. 4.