The line is reported at :
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley (D) made his endorsement official this morning, saying that Hillary Clinton “gets it” and is a fighter who he said “makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.”
The editor of the Washington Blade (I'm still embarrassed that it took me years to get the pun in its name) reports on the controversy and dismisses it as overreaction (thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer).
But my thought, prompted by a glance in the Oxford English Dictionary, is that maybe we're misunderstood Gov. Easley:
a. A remarkable or outstanding person. Cf. DAISY n. 5. Now disused.
1899 G. ADE Fables in Slang 63 The Parishioners did not seem inclined to seek him out after Services and tell him he was a Pansy. 1920 G. ADE Hand-made Fables 62 For every Pansy in this conservative Town there were 14 Rutabagas.
Maybe he meant that for every pansy in the Senate race there are 14 rutabagas. Or for every pansy in Philadelphia. Or that Rocky was a pansy, and Hillary is a rutabaga? Not sure, but I thought I'd point out the possibility. Mmmm, rutabagas.