In a campaign call, Clark talked to a woman named Sue Stapleton. As happens often with answering machines, Ms. Stapleton picked up the phone on the last ring, causing the device to record. Displeased with Mr. Clark, she hung up on him mid-conversation. Realizing that she had hung up, Clark did not do the same. Instead, he angrily said:
“Ok. I feel like calling her back and smacking her around.”
The full transcript reads:
[Answering machine picks up the call, then Sue Stapelman picks up phone]
FC: “Hi, this, uh, Ms. Stapelton?"
SS: “Yes it is.”
FC: “Hi, this is Representative Fred Clark.”
FC: “Yes, I just want to give you and John a call again tonight. You may know I’m running against Luther Olsen here in the recall election in the 14th Senate District.”
SS: “Yeah, isn’t that a crime.” [hangs up]
[Answering machine still recording]
FC: “Ok. I feel like calling her back and smacking her around.”
Director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, John Hogan, stated, "This disturbing and inappropriate comment gives us an unfortunate glimpse of what Representative Clark is like when he thinks no one is listening. Domestic violence is a devastating problem in our state , and abuse is on the rise. To be able to so freely threaten violence against a woman, even in jest, shows a tremendous lack of character.
“Coupled with his record of killing jobs and increasing spending, the mounting evidence of Fred Clark’s recklessness and lack of common sense will be flatly rejected by voters at the polls this summer.”