updated 1/26/2005 11:32:49 AM ET 2005-01-26T16:32:49

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey threatened to “take out” a radio talk show host who made dismissive comments about postpartum depression, an ailment that has afflicted first lady Mary Jo Codey, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to an account in The Star-Ledger of Newark, Codey confronted radio host Craig Carton on Tuesday in a hallway at the Ewing Township studios of NJ 101.5.

“I wish I weren’t governor, I’d take you out,” Codey said off-air, according to a Star-Ledger reporter who witnessed the confrontation.

Carton responded: “That’s real professional. You want to fight?”

Codey and Carton shouted at each other before Carton left the station and Codey went on to appear for his monthly “Ask the Governor” call-in show.

Codey said he was upset about remarks in Carton’s Monday afternoon “Jersey Guys” show.

According to a partial transcript the governor’s office told the newspaper it got from a “trusted source,” Carton said: “What Gov. Codey ought to do is approve the use of medical marijuana so women can have a joint and relax instead of putting their babies in a microwave. Then all they want to do is cook Doritos. Women who claim they suffer from this postpartum depression ... they must be crazy in the first place.”

Citing station policy, program director Eric Johnson declined to release a tape of Carton’s show and said he saw nothing wrong with his comments.

“Talk show hosts are free to comment on the news,” Johnson said. “We have talk show hosts with strong opinions.”

Battle with depression
Mary Jo Codey has publicly described her battle with depression and talked about the dark days after their first son was born — times when she thought of drowning her child or placing him in a microwave oven. She said she knew she would hurt herself first.

Postpartum depression afflicts about 2 percent of women who give birth.

The acting governor has been a longtime advocate for improved care for the mentally ill and once worked undercover at a state psychiatric hospital to gather information to support his reform efforts.

At the beginning of his call-in show, Codey delivered a prepared rebuttal to Carton, saying he was proud of his wife and that the remarks were “personally offensive.”

“But I am even more disturbed that they reinforced a negative stigma and hurt hundreds of thousands of other New Jerseyans who deal with this disease every day,” he said.

Codey then took on-air questions for an hour.

As he left the station, Codey said he was glad he confronted Carton. “I’m proud of what I said there,” he said.

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