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. Debby

    Yep Obama for women thats why he picked Biden for VP after Hillary brought in 18 million voters. This woman is voting McCain/Palin.

    September 19, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. gg

    I know you all want to comment on specific stories, but just wanted you to know that I am on a mission. I wanted to try alternative news sources in this election, so decided to try Fox news. My experience is that they publish very biased news, they censor comments to their stories, refuse to publish any comments that contradict their view point, and are generally a poor source of legitimate news. Go to any other web site for your info. Avoid Fox news at all costs.

    September 19, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. Steve California

    I think NOW's (National Organization of Woman) endorsement of Obama speaks loud enough! They say that Palin will only make woman's lives more difficult as she turns back the hands of time (if she had her way). As for McCain, his track record says enough.

    I find it interesting that all the woman teachers who teach at my wife's school are all supporting Obama ... and are all worried about Palin. In the end, McCains pick will back-fire on him. It's too bad, I'd love to see a woman as President or VP ... but Palin.

    And there's no way I'd vote Green ... even though I'm registered as one. She's a little too elites for me!

    September 19, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. Grace

    I heard Sen. Obama's speech to Women in Florida. IT was absolutely amazing. He spoke as if he was speaking to every single woman. This is WHY this man is FAR MORE QUALIFIED and EDUCATED to lead this country forward. He's got this 'sixth' sense about him that brings a new element to this country that has been "lacking" the past 8 years. We've seen NO CHANGE in this country and we've watched our economy go down the toilets on the Republican watch. I'm ALL for CHANGE.

    He's brighter, intelligent, not a "hot head" and a "reckless" thinker, he has this calmness about him that is absolutely amazing. He's always so well mannered, soft spoken and has a "calm" being about him. This is the PRESIDENT QUALITY we want in our President.

    For the first time in a LONG time, I feel confident the future of my country. I feel like we FINALLY have someone who is "bringing something NEW to the table" for a change.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 19, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. Jessica

    BJ....obviously he picked her for political reasons...not because she was the best possible much for country first.

    what a schmuck

    September 19, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. Leimomi Matunding

    Let' s make it happen!!! I am from Juneau Alaska, we need everyone's support to make it happen!!

    September 19, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Filipina

    Obama you ROCK!!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. Anne

    The lying salesman is at it again. Even though he stole the nomination from Hilliary, he snubbed her and this will probably cost him the election. Hopefully before this campaign is over his rhetoric will not conceal his inexperience and lack of good judgment. We have a neophyte here and American are finding out rather quickly. The last place he should sling his propaganda is Florida.

    September 19, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Filipina

    Thank you Jeff for posting about the PAC endorsement for Obama.

    You all vote for Obama 🙂

    September 19, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. Larry


    September 19, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Harold (Canada)

    Watch out. Palin was appointed to run as VP for McSame only because she has the looks to fool people. She is very shallow, and is hiding from the press.

    Now we hear that Todd Palin self appoints himself to become an official too, in Alaska. What an abuse of power. This Palin woman is so shallow, and whoever follows her like sheep – shame on you!

    September 19, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Phoenix

    Angela, you go girl. Hillary is NOTHING like Palin. Hillary was truly an "every person candidate," and not just a woman baiting candidate. That's all Palin is, and that's why she is fading quicker than a shooting star. Hillary was the real "Barracuda," and could take on the big boys, Palin is a puppy that needs house training. Palin is virtually voiceless because powerful men are telling her what to say and what to do, how is that progress. Second, I'm tired of hearing that Hillary should have been VP. I'm a Hillary fan, but Hillary did not want to be anyone's VP. She wanted to be the top of the ticket. It is an insult for women and men to continue acting like Hillary needs "sympathy" from Obama.

    September 19, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. NOSS

    PLease, this interest in proliferating that anyone who would NOT for Obama is a "racist redneck" sounds like the logic of a racist redneck.
    Put your LIPSTICK on that PIG.

    September 19, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. n jean

    This is a man who truly respects women. Just look the way he treats his wife, his grandmother, and sister,..not to mention his daughters too! He was very gracious with Hillary and speaks of her with great admiration.

    McCain, on the other hand, called his wife a c_ _ t, and joked about women enjoying rape. He ONLY has Palin has his VP because of she's a woman. He uses women and has no respect for them.

    Obama is the right and only choice for women and america!

    September 19, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. mary


    September 19, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. JohnJon

    Arthur James."" Obama's senatorial offices make eight or nine thousand less than a year their male counterparts.""" Show me proof of what your saying. No one is taking your word for anything. Your just a republican liar like the rest of your party. Unless you back up your statements like most Democrats do, we don't even read your comments. Fact boy, Fact, thats all we want, not BS

    September 19, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. Jennifer

    CNN, just REPORT the news. That last paragraph is just your weak attempt of stirring things up. God, I'm so SICK of the media. Remember the time when the news was just that? Obama is going to win this election IN SPITE of your biased reporting!

    September 19, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. JD

    As a woman, I would like to ask all you women who fight so hard for the right to "choose" – do you know that Planned Parenthood (HUGE supporter of women's rights, and praised/supported by Obama in a big way) was established by Margaret Sanger, for the purpose of eliminating the black race??? This is factual, and well documented. Please do your research. Why would Obama support abortion and Planned Parenthood when its abortions and birth control were established to eliminate his race? Why would any non-racist Christian? And as for Biden stating that he believes abortion isn't right, but he can't force his religious beliefs on someone else... this isn't a matter of forcing your beliefs on anyone. It is a matter of justice – giving the most basic right of our constitution (LIFE, liberty, happiness) to the littlest of our society. Who will fight for the rights of all those little girls (women in the making) in the womb? Or do they have to be of reproductive age to have their rights recognized?

    September 19, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. Republican for change

    Does anyone notice that everytime Palin gives a speech, McMan is looking over her shoulder to make sure she's not gonna ruin his chances of being president?

    Is this what some women consider as gender equality?

    I hope not.

    September 19, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. Penny, California

    This is one woman, a Hillary Clinton supporter, who will never vote for Barack Hussein Obama...!

    John McCain 2008

    September 19, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Biff Biffington RETURNS...

    cnn and the media want this election to remain close so bad, they can TASTE it.

    Mccain just had the worst week in the history of campaigning...

    obama gains in the polls, but the electoral map changes to favor mccain... puh leeze !

    September 19, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. Mario fl

    Go Obama we are with you

    September 19, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. Dani

    How anyone can support Hillary and her platform, and then jump ship for Palin is beyond me. If your basis of voting is on something like race or gender as opposed to the issues (and I mean the REAL ones like economy and foreign policy, not the moral religious stuff that has no place in politics anyway), then you deserve the grave you dig for yourself when you suddenly find yourself with no rights, no house, no anything.

    I'm all for women's rights (what woman isn't?) and everything we gained in the Nineteenth Amendment. The sad truth is that most Americans don't even know what that is. How many of you had to look it up? That's one of the real issues. Education.

    Issues like abortion, aside from being religious and having no place in politics ("separation of church and state" anyone?), is a state mandated issue. (Tenth Amendment. It's your Constitution, learn it and love it.) The states are the ones that make those decisions. Not the President. It's aggravating that issues the President doesn't control are constantly brought up in elections. It's politicians taking advantage of our lack of knowledge. Knowledge we should have in schools. Education should be the main focus of any election. If we don't educate our students, how can they make the important decisions that will affect our economy? How will they decide what the right foreign policy should be?

    September 19, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. pa.joe

    I think that American women are smart enough to vote for the person who represents their opinions and values.
    This is why I think most will support the candidate who will protect woman's reproductive rights, who will improve public schools, who will see that all Americas children have health insurance, who will demand that women get equal pay for equal work, and who won't sent our sons and daughters off to fight wars based on lies.
    And that candidate is Barack Obama.

    September 19, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Fraser

    Obama has been very respectful towards women and he supports equal pay for women and a woman's right to choose. Those are core issues and they are enough to get my vote.

    I guess McCain thinks that women will vote for anyone with ovaries–even if they are anti-choice.

    September 19, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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