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. Jennifer

    Chris in vA,

    Agree with you! But guess this, red necks are everywhere. Was on the 405 in Los Angeles not thirty minutes ago and was stuck behind a monster truck with confederate flag painted on the back, a license plate that read "Pyro-Pop" and an anti Obama sticker in the window. And of course the driver was cutting everyone off, he almost took out a family of four! I couldn't believe it. I HAVE A DREAM... that someday this country will get of rid of bigotry once and for all!

    September 19, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Richard

    It's not that Hillary is not out there. It's just that none of the news organizations think she is worth covering nationally on her stops.

    September 19, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. sharon, nc

    I'm glad that OB is reaching out not just to the women, but to every american. We should all be so proud. However, the condition of our economy brings concerns of our future, and we all want what's best for our or republican....can we please agree to disagree and let's get the best LEADERSHIP in the White House.


    September 19, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. Hopeful

    I find it hard to believe Barack ever had a problem gettin' women! He has me! He understands us. Oppressed women for OBAMA/BIDEN

    September 19, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. sharon, nc

    Can't we all just get along?


    September 19, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. Larry


    September 19, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. I am woman

    People, he did not say that he could get her voters and not the other way around. Any way, I believe that he truly cares about women and their issues. Given his background I would find it hard for him not to. Furthermore merely talking about the discrepancy in pay is a step in the right direction. McCain is not for us. He doesn't care about equal pay, has talked about using choice words, and choose a woman against many things we woman have fought for.

    It's great woman are overall for Obama, but how stupid are white women that we overall are more for McCain? Come on women, step up for our sons and daughters. End this war. Fix this economy. Vote for Obama.

    September 19, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. TrueDemocrat

    McCain thinks women are stupid and will blindly vote based on gender. Palin knows she wasnt picked on merit, or substance. She was picked because she was a young woman who can rally the conservative side, with her book burning ways. Have you seen the list of books she banned? Is this the 50's?

    I thought McCain was scary because he has sold his soul to get elected, but Palin is even scarier.

    McCain truly underestimates women. He'll find out on November 4th!

    Independent for OBAMA/BIDEN!

    September 19, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. No Way, No How, No BHO!

    He is NOT for women, just himself. He uses Hillary and Bill to get what HE wants. Me Me Me...look at me! I raise millions and schmooze with stars...It's all about ME!

    Get real people. Obama's promises are empty. Who's going to pay for all the things he promises? Not me. I already pay enough taxes for welfare fraud. Now you want me to pay more? Help people "who need it? " That's what volunteerism is for. All the rich people, including Obama himself, would do the world wonders if they simply donated money to "those that need it" instead of making tax payers pay. What? You don't have any? The economy is so bad that Obama raises record amounts of money? Where is it coming from? If not from struggling families here in the US, then where?

    McCain/Palin '08 & '12...Palin '16 &'20!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. Jessica

    The current state of affairs in our country is going to dictate the outcome of this election. Obama will be the victor, overcoming covert racism, overt (yet untrue) attacks of his religion. The far right's efforts are posted all over the web. It's just plain pathetic.

    Republicans are selfish and narrow-minded. Any talk of addressing social issues are superficial, or nonexistent. The only attempt at actual "caring" about others is with the issue of abortion. Yet, never a mention of how they would address the social problems that would result if it were to become illegal. They would just leave these women to live in hope. Poverty is already a dire issue, and this would allow it to grow exponentially. PLEASE!
    Then fools like OREILEY would turn his nose up at the new epidemic of poor, immoral, single mothers looking for a handout.
    Tunnel vision to say the least, folks.

    This country can do Obama

    September 19, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  11. Katie

    I'm very excited and proud to say I will be voting Obama-Biden in November. They are the best choice for women.

    September 19, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  12. Trysh, Los Angeles

    Hey Average Joe: We are looking at the track record and we can see that McCain is NOT about change.

    And you don't care about track records because Palin's lack of track record doesn't bother you one bit. Its okay if you just don't want to vote for a Black guy.

    September 19, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Noemi in Los Angeles

    Latina woman for Obama!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Chris in Va.

    notoobama- look in the mirror and tell someone who will buy the garbage you and your Repug party are selling.

    Record number of Repug filibusters and an idiot in the White House are the problems or are you too stupid to see that?

    September 19, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Patrick

    How DISGUSTING. BO is a sexist pig (sans lipstick). He disrespected Hillary and further fractured the democratic party by slapping her in the face by choosing long term insider biden. The only CHANGE that BO is capable of is asking his wife to change his diaper. Inexperience, frightfully scary for America. He is a sleazy LAWYER just what washington and America does not need. Mavericks will win it!!! McCain/Palin 08!! Leaders we can trust!

    September 19, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. Lisa

    Thumbs down to cnn for adding that last paragraph.

    September 19, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  17. Becky, Midwest

    Don't bother, Obama. Save your breath. Former Hillary supporter, now voting for experience, that would be McCain, not the junior senator. You had your chance. You blew it when you trashed Hillary. You blew it with your choice of Biden (career politician), no change there. You've bored me to death with your smooth talking, while actually doing and saying nothing. Goodbye. Good riddance.

    September 19, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  18. Kim J

    Not every woman votes based on a candidate's position on abortion. There are actually bigger issues out there to focus on. And, my insurance covers my birth control pills, so if you want that covered switch to HealthNet.

    September 19, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. s mills

    As a woman, I hope this focus on "sexism" and "women" goes my 30 years as a non-management but successful worker I just can't relate to it. I loved the Clinton years...prosperity and good relations with the world were SO inspiring. I like Hillary. But I just don't get this sexism thing.......Sorry.....she lost me there.

    I guess some women just hate being patronized by this over-sensitivity. I'm sure there are a few areas where discrimination still exists and by all means focus on those areas. But don't generalize it! Some of us much prefer to sink or swim on our merits than to be treated with kid gloves just because of our sex....
    I hope Obama wins, and I hope the Clinton's play a big role restoring our prosperity and humanity with the world. Please don't lose!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  20. Issues Voter

    It's past time for a change of direction. This election is not just about is not about is, in every respect, about an ideology allowed to go too far. When our economy is callapsing aound us, we are "all" affected. It is time for the people to do what is expected in a democracy....throw the bums out (as my grandfather would say..) and start over. ..... it's not about's about ideology. Just as shareholders and board members of failing companies make changes, by cleaning house..... it is time for the American people to CLEAN HOUSE in the way our democracy allows.....

    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    September 19, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  21. conny

    Thanks President Obama

    September 19, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I am convinced that under an Obama-Biden Administration the right of all women will dramatically improve, thus improving the quality of life of all Americans. Women are the backbone of the American Family and deserve a President and Vice President that recognize this. McCain and Palin are not only fools but will set the women's rights movement back about 100 years!

    September 19, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. Ex-Military

    Yaaaarg, my name is Average Joe and I'm tough; I've fought wars and felt pain. Listen, you don't have to serve in the armed forces to be President of the United States. It's the wisdom to lead that matters, and McCrook (i.e., the person with no honor) has none!!

    September 19, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  24. Huh?

    Got it now. No need for fact check on Obama because he never says anything................

    I'm a grandson, son, husband, and father too........

    Substance please... yeesh!

    September 19, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Noemi in Los Angeles

    Thanks for the NOW PAC post Jeff!!

    CNN is a little behind with the news...

    September 19, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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