Mississippi state Rep. Robert Foster (R) told CNN that he thought he made the right decision by telling a female reporter that she had to supply a chaperone if she wanted to conduct a one-on-one interview with him.
Larrison Campbell is a reporter for Mississippi Today. She had asked Foster and the other candidates in the race to shadow them for a day so that she could write about it for her paper. This would include an hours-long car ride in Foster's truck. Foster was the only one to refuse the interview, saying that she needed to bring along a male colleague.
In an interview on Thursday with CNN's John Berman, Foster said:
I didn't want to end up in a situation where me and Ms. Campbell were alone for an extended period of time throughout that 15- or 16-hour day, and so out of precaution, I wanted to have her bring someone with her — a male colleague. The other thing I think it's important to point out is that this is my truck, and in my truck, we go by my rules and that's my rule.
He told Berman and Campbell that he had "made a vow" to his wife and that "part of the agreement that we've also made throughout our marriage is that we would not be alone with someone of the opposite sex throughout our marriage, and that is a vow that I have with my wife."
But Cambell said that Foster's decision was sexist, since it put her at a disadvantage compared to male reporters.
"Why is it my responsibility to make you feel comfortable about something that — you know, that again as your campaign director said on the phone with me — is this weird request that you have?" she said.
She also asked if he thought people would assume he was having a gay affair if a male reporter had asked to shadow him for a day "[u]nless, at the end of the day, what you're saying here is a woman is a sexual object first and a reporter second."
Candidate denies female reporter access to campaign trip www.youtube.com