LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Called on by the McConnell campaign to apologize for a comment about Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington) said Sunday he is "deeply sorry for offending anyone" while he served as the emcee of a Republican dinner in Lexington on Saturday night.
As reported by New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman, Lee referred to prior controversial remarks last September by National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brad Dayspring that Grimes was “incapable of articulating her own thoughts” and an “empty dress.”
"Maybe if he had said she looks fat in that empty dress," Lee quipped to the crowd, according to Weisman, who posted the quote on Twitter.
Both the Grimes and McConnell campaigns criticized the remark.
"We're all for a joke at dinner," said Allison Moore, Press Secretary for the McConnell campaign, "but Rep. Lee's attempt at humor was highly offensive and inappropriate."
"It's no wonder the GOP and @Team_Mitch have a women's problem," Grimes' campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton tweeted.
Lee responded to a request for comment by WHAS11 in an e-mail Sunday afternoon.
"I certainly would like to apologize to anyone who was highly offended or found my clumsy attempt at humor, inappropriate," Lee said. "In today’s society, humor can often be a difficult thing to handle in an honorable way. And for this additional reason, I am deeply sorry for offending anyone last evening."
Lee, a Lexington attorney, has served in the Kentucky General Assembly since 2001.
Grimes has made an appeal to women a centerpiece of her campaign.
In November, the Grimes campaign linked McConnell to a tweet by the National Republican Senatorial Committee which featured a photo of Grimes' face superimposed on the body of the woman who came to be known as "Obama Girl" during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Grimes’ campaign called it a "sexualized attack."