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Fallin, Askins Respond To 'Motherhood' Comment Controversy

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Lt. Governor Jari Askins and Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin attend a debate in Edmond on October 19, 2010. Lt. Governor Jari Askins and Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin attend a debate in Edmond on October 19, 2010.
Fallin said on Tuesday the comment was not meant to attack her opponent. Fallin said on Tuesday the comment was not meant to attack her opponent.
Askins said she remains focused on the campaign. Askins said she remains focused on the campaign.

Ashli Sims, News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma's gubernatorial candidates, Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, faced off in a forum hosted by the State Chamber Tuesday.

10/26/10 Related Story: Askins, Fallin Square off at Business Forum

After the forum, both candidates responded to a comment that's stirred up debate across the country. Critics said Mary Fallin has been playing "the mother card."

10/25/2010 Related Story: Motherhood Puts Oklahoma's Gubernatorial Race in National Spotlight

Does family really matter at the ballot box? Even Green Country moms can't agree.

It's not the campaign trail, but a park playground is not immune to politics. Especially with the leading candidate in the race to be Oklahoma's next governor touting her experience as a mother.

"Raising a family is one of the most important things that you can do. And I admire people who have balanced a career and a family," said Gina Meyer, a grandmother.

When asked about what sets her apart, Congresswoman Mary Fallin pointed to her experience as a wife and mother. Two items, her opponent Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins, can not claim.

"I don't think it disqualifies another, necessarily," said Jeris Ford, who has nine grandchildren. "I think there's so much more; the bigger picture that goes into it."

"I wouldn't vote for her just because she says I'm a mother and I have kids. I don't know, I just don't think that's a reason why," said Anahi Albinagorta, a mother.

"I don't think that saying that statement or making that point is derogatory. I just think that, for her, that's one of the skill sets that she brings to the table," Aubrey Kerr, a mother, said.

Fallin said on Tuesday the comment was not meant to attack her opponent and she wants to focus on the issues.

"They want to see low taxes in our state. They want to know that their money is being spent efficiently and effectively and they want someone who will stand up for Oklahoma," she said. "So that's been my message and that's what I'm going to continue to focus my campaign on."

Askins says none of Oklahoma's governors have been mothers and many of them have done a great job.

"It's just something that came out. I'm sure some political consultant said for her to say it. And that's what happened," Askins said. "I'm focused on my qualifications and why I think I should be the next CEO of the state of Oklahoma."

For more on the governor's race, check out NewsOn6.com/politics.

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