September 19th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama pitches himself to women

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama is making a pitch to women voters."]CORAL GABLES, Florida (CNN) – Barack Obama took his week long economic message and gave it a different spin, pitching himself to several thousand female Floridians as the candidate who best understands what women want.

“This isn’t just about politics for me this is personal because I come here today not just as a candidate for president but as a son and a grandson, as a husband and a father who’s seen first hand, throughout my life, the challenges so many women face everyday in this country,” he told a rally at the University of Miami.

Obama needs the women’s vote. The addition of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket and Obama’s decision to pass on Hillary Clinton for his running mate slot put some segments of the female vote up for grabs. Recent polling shows Obama winning women overall but he continues to trail McCain among white women by about 15 points. John Kerry lost that group by 11 points in 2004. This weekend, female Obama surrogates will be hosting events in all 50 states and the campaign is releasing a television ad on equal pay.

As women waved “Women for Obama,” “Moms for Obama,” and “Caregivers for Obama” signs, the Democratic presidential nominee said he understood the downturn in the economy has hit women particularly hard with the cost of child care, education and running a household getting further out of reach. As he has done all week on the economy, Obama sought to paint his Republican opponent as out-of-touch with women.

“It’s not that Senator McCain doesn’t care about what’s gong on in the lives of women in this country, I like to think that it’s just that he doesn’t know,” he said. “Why else would he oppose legislation to help women get equal pay and suggest that the reason women aren’t paid fairly isn’t because of discrimination on the job but because they need more education and training. He must not understand, he must not know.”

Obama touted Joe Biden’s authorship of the Violence Against Women’s Act, something campaign advisors hope to showcase in the ticket’s effort to win over women. While he rarely brings up the politically tricky issue of abortion on the campaign trail, Obama fully embraced it in front of this audience.

Change means a president who will stand up for choice, who understands that five men on the supreme court don’t know better than women and their families and their doctors about what’s best for their health,” he said. “I will never back down from defending a woman’s right to choose.”

Despite her popularity, Obama only mentioned Sen. Hillary Clinton only once and gave her a nod for putting “those 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling.” Clinton however is a crucial part in the Obama campaign’s efforts to court the women vote. She and Biden held an Internet conversation this week on women’s issues.

soundoff (407 Responses)
  1. Sally

    I will proudly vote for Obama in November !!!

    September 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |

    Very Smart!

    September 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Jerry Ohio

    Women for Obama rally was great to see American rally for Obama ....Florida women are awesome they was there for Obama all different cultures of women for Obama

    Women for Obama/Biden

    September 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Listen Up...

    I'm running out of reasons why anyone who vote for McCain, Iwpn't mention the "elephant". Unless it's:

    1. Obsession with his POW story, want to hear it again and again.

    2. Thinks he's hot, can't wait to hear him do the state of the union.

    3. Likes the uncertainty of his memory, he's so unpredictable.

    4.Keep hearing about that explosive temper and would like to see it in action—given 4 years at the white house something is bound to set him off.

    5.Palin's voice is like nails on a chalkboard, love that sound!

    6. Can make a killing in vegas betting which way he'll flip or flop.

    Somebody help me please, I'm sure I forgot something.

    September 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. John in DC


    Why add the last paragraph? Why not report the news and stop stirring things up. He didn't mention his grandmother in Kenya at all. What should we take away from that??

    September 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Keith

    Obama's wasting his time. Real 'Merican wimmen eat raw moosemeat, breed pitbulls and call their husband "dood".

    USA USA USA!!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Liz

    As a woman Obama is our ONLY choice this year. The alternative is scary for me and my daughters.

    September 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Values.

    Obama has had one wife that he loves, and two beautiful children.

    Joe Biden lost his first wife ina terrible car accident, along with his daughter. He remarried and has a loving relationship with his family.

    John McCain left his first wife for a prettier, wealthier one as soon as he realized he could slide right into politics after Vietnam. He doesn't bring her up and has never apologized for what he did.

    September 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Angela

    Its about time Obama got out there and started working to earn our votes! Hillary is my candidate and will always be. Palin is certainly no Hillary, but at least McCain had the guts to pick a women for the job. It still bothers many of us women that Obama let his arrogance and pride get in the way to picking HIllary as VP. I still remember very clearly many of the condescending things he himself said directly to Hillary such as "... I can win your supoporters, but you cannot win mine." Very sexist and racist! His arrogance got in t he way of sound judgment- we have had more than enough of that with Bush , so I am not yet sold on Obama but at least he's FINALLY making an effort.

    September 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. forever3

    Obama knows what women want......NOT!
    Every speech Obama gives he has to Bash McCain. If his message is what he thinks we want to hear, then he should stick to that and give us credit to make our own decision. His same old lines against McCain is getting very tired.

    September 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Obama #1

    Obama if you support equal pay, why do the women working on your campaign early 83 cents for every dollar a man earns? (FYI it's $1.03 for McCain staffers). If you cared about the women why did you run a sexists campaign against Hillary. If you respect women why did you belittle Governor Palin dissing her as a small town Mayor after she was announced and failing to acknowledge she is Governor of a state. Your actions speak much louder than your words!

    September 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. naomi, al

    Obama dosen't just need womens votes, CNN you always spinning something, hell he needs every vote every last vote. And where is Hillary she is kinda making me mad, I like Bill and Hillary but there not doing anything to help their party, forget about Obama help your party. And where is that big mouth Geraldine from California, I don't hear anything about them anymore and the election is Nov 4th. Democrat women get off your _sses! Its been time to speak out and talk about the issues that women are facing and that Pailn wont do anything about.

    September 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. The Lady

    Obama\Biden 08-There is nothing else to say.

    September 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Since apparently it is not newsworthy to enough media outlets...NOW has endorsed Obama/ Biden '08...Please read AND SHARE...

    National Organization for Women PAC Endorses Obama-Biden

    Chair, National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC)

    September 16, 2008

    It is with great enthusiasm that I announce today, on behalf of the nation's oldest and largest women's rights organization, that the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) proudly endorses Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States.

    It is no coincidence that I am joined in this announcement by so many allied organizations that collectively represent a broad and diverse cross-section of U.S. women. From teachers to social workers, from business owners to college students, women in this country are lining up behind the candidate who is out there every day standing up - clearly and consistently - for women. Women of all ages, races and ethnicities are coming together in support of Sen. Obama and his pledge to fulfill this country's promise of equal opportunity for our daughters as well as all our sons.

    Although it is very unusual for us to endorse in a presidential election, this is an unprecedented candidate and an unprecedented time for our country. The NOW PAC reviewed Sen. Obama's record and public statements on issues that disproportionately affect the women of this nation, and I spoke with him at length about his commitment to women's equality. For example:

    On pay equity. Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation to end wage discrimination against women.

    On reproductive rights. Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Prevention First Act, to strengthen access to contraception and reproductive health care, and prevent unwanted pregnancies. He strongly supports Roe v. Wade and will oppose any efforts to overturn it.

    On violence against women. Sen. Obama supports the continued reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act - of which Sen. Joe Biden is the chief sponsor - as well as the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act, which is legislation to provide legal, medical and financial support to victims of domestic violence.

    On the Supreme Court. Sen. Obama opposed the nominations of George Bush's extreme right-wing nominees to the Supreme Court, who have consistently ruled against women's rights,

    For more than a decade, Barack Obama has said "yes" to women's rights, while John McCain has consistently said "no" – NO to pay equity, NO to contraceptive access and reproductive rights, NO to appointing Supreme Court judges who will uphold women's rights and civil rights, NO to funding shelters and other anti-violence programs, and NO to supporting working moms and dads with policies that support work/life balance.

    NOW supported Sen. Hillary Clinton in the primary, and now we join with her in saying "NO" - No Way, No How, No McCain! And we proudly stand arm-in-arm with her in putting our hopes and our dreams, our hard work and our hard-earned money, behind the next President of the United States - Barack Obama, and his running mate, longtime friend and ally of women, Sen. Joe Biden.

    Posted by: WHITE MALE HOCKEY DAD (two daughters)

    Obama/ Biden '08 !!!

    September 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Yeah but..

    McCain is a POW... is a maverick... invented the dingleberry...

    September 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. Brandon

    this statement is major, "Change means a president who will stand up for choice, who understands that five men on the supreme court don’t know better than women and their families and their doctors about what’s best for their health,” he said. “I will never back down from defending a woman’s right to choose.”

    that's how i want my leader to talk, i dont know about you...

    September 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. wheres Hillary

    Is Hillary hiding? Where is she? And why is Hillary scared of Pailn? I want to hear from Hillary, where are you?

    September 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. paula

    Thank you, President Obama.

    September 19, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. r sisk, nevada

    So let me get this straight. A majority of white women are supporting McCain over Obama? I find that hard to believe. Where are you doing the polling, Utah and Arizona?

    September 19, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. leapfrog

    The secret to Democratic success can be summed up in one word: turnout. The GOP does really well because Republicans, by and large, always vote. The turnout rate usually runs anyhwere between 75 – 85% turnout of registered republicans. Dems tend to show up around 50-60% of the time. There are always more registered Dems than Repubs. Dems: you wanna win this one? Show up and vote.

    September 19, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. Tanya

    Just got done visiting with my accountant. We both agree that a "Crash" of Wall Street is coming. Bush and the boys cleaned our retirements and 401K's out. They're going to waltz out of the WhiteHouse and leave someone else to clean up their mess.
    What gets me is the number of people willing to elect the Party that got us where we are at today. We deserve everything that will be coming to us. My advise, stuff all your money in an old sock and bury it in the backyard. At least you'll be left with something!
    We ARE dumb!

    September 19, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. Pennsylvania

    This woman is not impressed with Obama. I guess you could say that I am bitter, in the words of Mr Obama. I plan on voting for Mr McCain. He understand ordinary Pennsylvanians and Americans.

    September 19, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Jill

    Notice how McCain looks more and more confused.

    September 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. A Woman In California For Obama:

    All I have to say is ANY woman who votes for Palin/McCain gets what they deserve. I hope their sons and daughters come home feet first.

    September 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. Tracey

    Women have made such progress over the years! Government should not tell a woman what to do and it should not be inforced!(republicans). With so many people dying of STD's and HIV in this country and the world, what intelligent person would take the risk and oppose sex education. The world has changed so drastically! It's all about having common sense and helping to educate the world and our children as parents. Knowing the number of deaths that are occuring and pregnacies that are occuring, people should be more willing to educate others about all of the risks. As a parent, I would not want my young son having children at an early age. I would feel more secure knowing that there are resources out there that can be use to prevent unwanted pregancies and STD's as well as the killer, "HIV"

    September 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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