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. Marie in California

    I'm one woman who wants absolutely nothing to do with Obama! Obama would be more credible to American women had he chosen Clinton as his VP nominee......but.......he didn't. Bad judgment.

    McCain is way ahead of the game regarding women.....with his choice of a refreshing, admirable, successful female VP candidate. Palin was sure a surprise when she was announced. But I like her a lot.

    I'd been hoping McCain would have Condi Rice as a running mate, but I hear she said she was not interested in any further politics and just wanted to go back to a quiet life at Stanford.

    McCain-Palin – 2008

    September 19, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  2. Say Cheese Obama

    Obama is good at one thing lying! He can pretend to care about everyone, but if he's elected he will be looking out for all his friends. What's scary is that someone with his lack of experience is being considered to be President. I would vote for Joe Biden over him anyday. Funny how Obama and Co. continue to pick at Sarah Palin. I think people who feel inadequate themselves turn the spotlight on others to distract from their lacking qualities. He lacks substance and integrity and he knows it!!

    September 19, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. Erika, KS

    VISION doesn't get anything done. Experience does. Experience tells us how people will do things. Obama has very dubious and questionable experience at best with no accomplishment.

    McCain has a history of working with dems. That's why so many republicans don't like him. You can talk all you want about McCain being a 'third Bush term," but that's a lie. You people make me sick. Like it's so horrible to reach across the aisle. Like the whole world is either this or that. It's not. There is a lot of gray. McCain doesn't pretend to have all the answers (unlike Mr. know it all, who seems to act like in two short years as Senator he's suddenly an expert in absolutely everything). McCain knows when to compromise and work things out with others who hold different views. Oh. How terrible.

    September 19, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. STL, MO voter

    Arthur James September 19th, 2008 6:42 pm ET

    He can talk the talk, but women in Obama's senatorial offices make eight or nine thousand less than a year their male counterparts, while the women in McCain's senatorial offices actually are making about two or three thousand more a year than the men there.

    These are facts, not opinions, and they do not support Obama's rhetoric.

    Arthur, you have a link to these "facts" instead of empty rhetoric?

    September 19, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Matt

    Why is the media not reporting the obvious...i.e., that McCain is copycatting Obama in an effort to play up the Bradley Effect? His entire campaign premise at this point has become "you don't have to vote for a black guy to get all the things Obama is promising....I will give you exactly what he has been promising his entire campaign in the safe, familiar package of a white guy."

    Google Bradley Effect and Harold Ford.

    September 19, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Say Cheese Obama

    Michelle probably forced him to say that! She runs their house and she will run the country if he's elected. Ummm ummm Michelle! Why haven't we seen someone interview him at his Chicago home....hmmmm probably because the purchase of it is surrounded by controversy. When is the media going to level the playing field. I'm over seeing Dumbo ears Obama and his idle chatter!

    September 19, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. mike

    obama won who would you like to watch a football game with a yahoo poll done over the phone 50 percent for obama and 47 percent for mccain ..... VOTE Obama/biden 2008 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Craig

    How far up America's bowels does the Republican "member" have to be before stupid Americans realize they're being screwed?

    September 19, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Ha, Ha. Obama had a huge chance to show his support for women and blew it. Obama ran a sexist campaign against Hillary, didn't pick her as VP, and now wants it all to be forgotten. Hillary got a lot more respect from McCain than Obama. Who picked a woman for their VP candidate? Actions count, words don't.

    September 19, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. Joshua College Station Texas


    It wasn't arrogance and pride that kept Obama from choosing Hillary, it was trust. He couldn't trust her. She even hinted that a serious tragedy could happen to him. And remember, it took her weeks and weeks after he had won to accept that she hadn't won, and she had said a lot of terrible things about him during the primaries. During the time he was making his decision, she was still being defiant. Not only that, but choosing her threatened his message of credibility as a change candidate. And being VP isn't about earning it–there is no precedent for automatically picking a runner-up to be the winner's VP. The best reason for Obama to pick Hillary is because he felt they were the best match, but in this instance, it just wasn't the case. 4 years is a long time to be with a VP you don't feel comfortable with.

    September 19, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. No Hillary = No Obama

    Pitching to women? We don't need or want a "pitchman". He had his chance and he thought he was invinciable and could jettison Hillary as soon as the media aided and abetted his nomination. The ONLY reason he is "pitching" is because McCain showed him up with Sarah Palin and now the polls teeter-totter day by day. This is what I don't like about Obama – he thinks he can rely on his charm and ingratiating ways to win over those he betrayed. I'm writing in Hillary Clinton's name on my ballot – it does count – I would never vote for a traitor.

    September 19, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. Arizona Demo

    How can any TRUE Democratic Party Woman vote for McCain/Palin? I agree with Shirley P. Oh my women!!! Put away your resentment about how Hillary was treated, I did. Start doing your research on John McCain and womens issues......look at where I am from. Do some homework on the Keating 5 and stop putting the whole blame for the financial fiasco on Democrats. Look at the big picture, and see which party controlled Congress the most these last eight years. McCain was a deregulator and free trader and still is, I don't care what he says. As to Palin, well, she has little standing and this is what you want a heartbeat away from the Presidency. But if you want more of the same Phil GRamm's financial plan that got us into this, and the same cast of corrupt characters, then vote Republican. BUT: when everything gets worse, DON'T ASK THE DEMOCRATS TO TRY TO BAIL YOU OUT!

    September 19, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. PUMA 4 HILL

    LIAR... PANDER... LIAR... PANDER.... PANDER.... LIAR....

    We just aren't that stupide Mr. Obummer..
    You aren't exactly who you say you are. We see right thru you, slimeball.


    September 19, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. I Just dont Get it!

    McCain is an imposter. He left his first wife for the Miliionaire drug dealer. Obama 60% McCain 40% its going to be a LANDSLIDE.

    September 19, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. joellen

    As a working mother of 4 kids, I WILL NOT vote for more handouts for people unwilling to work for it. Don't get me wrong, I know there are people out there who are hard working and struggling to provide for their families, but I've seen too many people who just want things handed to them for nothing.

    Why is our high school drop-out rate so high?! Because our kids don't want to make an effort to get the most out of the FREE education provided to them.

    I come from a single parent family who qualified for food stamps but my mom was TOO proud to take them and did without herself so that we could have clothes and generic brand foods. I paid my own way through college by working and taking student loans. I completed grad school while working full-time and paying for it on credit cards.

    I do not think it's fair that after all those years of sacrifice and hard work that I have to pay higher taxes to provide for those who are unwilling to sacrifice for their kids or ensure that they finish school to provide better for themselves and their families.

    Obama? NO WAY! He's as big a liar and flipflopper as the rest of them. Anybody who can't see that can't see past their own hand extended outwards looking for a freebie.

    September 19, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  16. Griff

    A King can only become a King,untill he becomes an Idiot.....

    September 19, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. Gary in VA

    This woman thing has really gotten out of hand. I tell you this type of talk will make it very difficult for any other woman to be successful in another white house bid. If women are going to be bickering and acting like brats, why give the chance. Emotions sometimes cloud the mind and thinking becomes cloudy. Anyone in their right mind would not vote for someone who is stand total on the opposite ends of their issues. Clinton and Obama had closely the same position on most issues. IF THIS KEEPS UP I VOW TO NEVER VOTE FOR ANOTHER FEMALE FOR ANY OFFICE. Minds are cloudy and emotions sometimes cloud their thinking. YES I SAID. I love women my mother is one, but I know them and most of their psychology.

    September 19, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. Patrick

    The 20-year-old son of a Democratic state lawmaker in Tennessee was being cited on the Internet yesterday as a suspect in the hacking of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's e-mail....hmmm, sounds like a sleazy young Obama fanatic. Great morals to raise your kids with...cheat, cheat, cheat...Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    September 19, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  19. aware

    Forget it Obama!

    After the way you trashed Hillary and Palin I would never vote for you!

    You do not have the experience, integrity, authenticity, judgment, stability, courage, moral center or core values to be president of the United States of America! You just obfuscate, prevaricate, equivocate and talk...........! 🙁

    This former Hillary Clinton supporter will vote for McCain/Palin 08! They listen to everyday Americans! And, they have a record of reform in action! 🙂

    September 19, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  20. Annie

    Watching the Republican convention I noticed that the women were all made up like kewpie(sp?) dolls, and there were pins stating how hot Palin is. There was no disrespect like that the previous week at the Democratic convention.

    September 19, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. MD in ND

    I certainly don't believe Hillary voters would want Palin waltzing into the White House (could happen, the guy is 72 by the way) because Hillary was not the candidate. She doesn't deserve it.

    September 19, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  22. victor,nj

    Pennsylvania September 19th, 2008 6:39 pm ET

    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.

    remember the guy that everyone wanted to have a beer with, is the same guy that has sucked the nation dry. So continue with your bitter voting, in 8 years americans would be migrating to Canada or Mexico.

    September 19, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. Soldier's Mom

    Funny how the news won't report the fact that Obama pays the men working on his campaign more than he pays the women doing the same job. It was reported on once durring the Dem. primaries, then nothing! Course they do seem to drop anything negative about Obama like a hot potato!

    September 19, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  24. Abby

    NOT buying all your TALK, TALK, TALK – obama. IF you really mean all you say – you should of picked HILLARY. BUt – you did NOT and this will cost you the election.

    McCain/Palin – best for Women & America

    September 19, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. me

    Men do not understand women well. Hillary does, Palin does. Men still are living in past centuries.

    September 19, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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