Democratic Fourth District candidate Eric Stewart criticized incumbent Scott DesJarlais on Wednesday after a report in the Huffington Post that he had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by the publication.
It said Rep. DesJarlais at the time of the call in September 2000 was trying to save his marriage. He was later divorced. The publication said Rep. DesJarlais did not deny the contents of the transcript.
Rep. DesJarlais issued this statement, "Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation's problems, yet it appears my opponents are choosing to once again engage in the same gutter politics that CBS News called the dirtiest in the nation just two years ago."
Democratic State Senator Stewart said, "As most of you know, stories have broken today that cause most anyone to question whether Congressman Scott DesJarlais is worthy of public office.
"Congressman Scott DesJarlais has consistently presented himself as a pro-life, pro-family-values person. He’s told the people of Tennessee this. He’s told the country this, and he’s told his supporters this.
"And today we all learned that a news story broke that showed the Congressman admitted to having four affairs. In addition to being a representative of the people as a U.S. Congressman, DesJarlais is also a medical doctor. The story today also revealed that he had an affair with one of his own patients and then urged and pleaded with her to terminate the pregnancy.
"In the story that broke today, we also learned that Congressman DesJarlais doesn’t deny any of this.
- Congressman DesJarlais took an oath to be faithful in marriage and broke that oath at least four times;
- Congressman DesJarlais took an oath as a physician to “do no harm” and broke that oath.
- Congressman DesJarlais has broken faith with the people of the 4th District.
"And on top of this, he has continued to hold himself out to the public as someone who is pro-life and pro-family, and today doesn’t deny that as a medical doctor he had an affair with a patient, got that patient pregnant and then begged and pleaded with her to terminate the pregnancy.
"Scott DesJarlais has proven over and over again that he cannot be trusted and this latest revelation is absolutely disqualifying."