After being caught on tape telling a group of trial lawyers that they better get him elected to prevent a lowly farmer from becoming head of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bruce Braley has a lot of ground to make up if he’d like to be a Democratic Senator from Iowa.

On a conference call today, he started hoeing rows. In a stilted six-minute statement to Iowa reporters, he offered this:

“One of my highest honors as a lawyer was being invited to the home of my clients to share a meal. It was no different than putting up hay all day in Poweshiek County and sitting down to dinner at noon with the farm family I was helping that day.”

You have to listen to it. He’s a real charmer, genuine, warm:

He tried to “clarify” what he meant, but it’s unconvincing, because he said exactly what he meant:

“I was trying to convey that we have different life experiences and backgrounds,” Braley said.

Braley was then asked by Des Moines Register columnist Kathie Obradovich if he is concerned the issue has hurt his Senate campaign.

“I am much less concerned about the impact of my comments on my Senate campaign, Kathie, than I am on the impact of my comments on the people of Iowa. And that’s because it doesn’t reflect who I am and where I come from, and that’s why I apologized to Senator Grassley,” Braley replied.

Braley was asked to explain how his life experience was different from Grassley.

“Well, the experience that I have spending 23 years representing Iowans and trying to understand their stories and challenges so that I could be their voice and give them a chance at justice. That’s one of the significant differences that I was trying to explain,” Braley said.

The full statement is here. Not sure it’s gonna work.