Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) needs to toughen up.

Frank, who is openly gay, was the target of a slur over the weekend by some hostile protesters who rallied against the health care reform bill at the Capitol. Two African American lawmakers, Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Andre Carson (D-IN) say they were heckled with racial epithets by demonstrators who used the N-word.

But King says Frank just needs to buckle down.

"I would think that Barney Frank has a thick skin," said King. "If he doesn't, I'll give him some thick-skin lessons."

King went on to characterize the jeers directed at Frank, Lewis and Carson as "a little push back."

King notes that he was heckled as he tried to attend a University of Iowa football game last fall in Iowa City, IA.

"It was about sexual orientation," King said of the barbs directed at him. He noted people hollered about him about his opposition to gay marriage.

Frank took issue with his Iowa colleague.

"This is how many Republicans try to diminish and dismiss bigotry," Frank said. "I don't know anyone would ever denounce (King) as a heterosexual."

Frank also said he'd pass on King's offer to help him toughen up.

"I appreciate the offer of lessons," said Frank. "But I cannot think of any issue on which I'd like to learn something from Mr. King."