White House contender Donald Trump, known for his inflammatory rhetoric, reacted with pique at a Republican presidential debate on Thursday when asked about his past comments calling women "fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs" and "disgusting animals."
Trump dismissed as "political correctness" a question from Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly, who asked him to answer charges that he was part of a "war on women."
"What I say is what I say," said Trump, who is leading the sprawling Republican field of 17 candidates.
He drew boos from the audience when he pushed back against Kelly by accusing her of not treating him well.
"Honestly Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me," Trump said. "But I wouldn't do that."
Trump, a real estate mogul and former reality TV star, stood at center stage by virtue of his lead in opinion polls. His base of support is overwhelmingly male, and his comments could further erode his support among women voters.
The Republican Party has been trying to broaden its base by reaching out to women and minority voters, many of whom gravitate to the Democratic party.