- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2015

Iowa state Rep. Ross Paustian has apologized to his constituents after a photo showing him reading a book titled “Sex After Sixty” on the House floor Tuesday night went viral.

The photo, taken and tweeted by Des Moines Register reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel, shows the Republican reading the book as state legislators debated a bill on collective bargaining for school employees, a local ABC affiliate reported.

Mr. Paustian, who just turned 59 this month, said the book was making its rounds on the House floor Tuesday after it was given as a gag gift to fellow Republican state Rep. Rob Bacon, who just turned 60. Mr. Paustian said the photo was snapped at the unfortunate moment that he picked the book up just to glance through it, the ABC affiliate reported.

“I’m getting a lot of pretty vicious emails from people, so I have to explain,” Mr. Paustian told the station. “The main thing is I was totally engaged in what was going on on the floor. … I knew what was going on. I knew how we were going to vote on amendments. So it wasn’t like I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on.

“If any of my constituents were offended, I apologize. I certainly wasn’t trying to offend anybody. I’m doing my job here for my constituents.”

Liberals had used the photo to suggest Republicans were not tuned into the lengthy House debate over a bill altering collective bargaining rights for teachers, the station reported. The proposal finally passed Wednesday morning after nine hours of debate.

“It’s unfortunate,” Mr. Paustian said. “That stuff always gets political, too. But that’s just part of the job.”

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