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. Cathy in Pennsylvania

    48 year old white Rural Pennsylvania woman for Obama........Hillary was my girl, but I am supporting can you not vote for him if you Supported Hillary Clinton..........he's our chance for a better America............he's our next best hope to clean up the mess of the past 8 years and protect our rights to have a choice

    McShame and Scary Palin, they scare the hell out of me......they want to dictate what choices you can have if ANY and they consistantly LIE.......most of what they say is not a fact only their distorted versions......
    Obama/Biden 08

    September 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. eugene

    women would be crazy if they vote for a republican,look what we are going thru,my uncle informed me this morning that he has lost 50% of his pension because of this,am so sick in tired of these republicans who have to us down to the gutter,and am so amazed that mccain is still this close,now that is scarey because i dont know if this country can take another republican president,imagine if a democrat was president,the republicans will be calling for the death to the democrats,in the media will be doing the same,just like when 911 happend,the republicans came out of that as heroes,if clinton would have been president when 911 happened it would have destroyed the democratic party

    September 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. kayla

    i agree , mcsame picked pittbull for politcal purpose. not because he cares for women, but because he wants women votes. and we know that.

    September 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Howard

    The American people get exactly what they vote for. If you like the way things are today, then for for McCain. If you support change, vote for Obama. remember, don't complain if you suffer another 4 year. you voted for more of the same!

    September 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Griff

    You can't Mister! You failed every: Woman on the Planet! You walked away from #1? Women.... What does a Women have to do, just to be recognised?? I Promised my little one; 29yrs ago.Now I have another! Both Females. But this one is a "Grand-Daughter. Women will be recognised one day!!! Why not now???

    September 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Arthur James

    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.

    Besides the fact that he blew his first big decision by not picking Hillary Clinton. For this, I have labeled him Barack Obrainless. And that is an opinion, albeit one that will be proven correct if he blows what should have been an easy win.

    September 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Sue

    I don't buy that survey. No sincere Hillary Democrat will be swayed by the lies coming from Sarah Palin, for her disregard for womens' issues, for her lack of caring for her family (where is her precious baby while she and Todd are playing celebrity?) by her non-answers to simple questions, and now by her refusal to cooperate with what she said was a groundless investigation. We may be the same gender as she is, but the similarities stop there. We're tired of the blame games, the feeling that someone is above the law, and the willingness to bomb a perceived enemy. All wrong for America.

    September 19, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    September 19, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Shirley P, Sonoma, CA

    I love Barack Obama. I'm a full fledged Hillary supporter and feel she was dealt from an uneven deck, but oh my, to think that a hHillary supporter would vote for John Mccain I just can't understand. That's contrary to everything we have worked toward. What's the sense in that?

    Barack has stepped up and met us half-way. I strongly feel that Hillary Clinton will play a significant role in the Democratic party and in an Obama administration, she will be as powerful as Nancy, and Joe, and Harry. I believe that with all my heart. I hope I'm not abused of that notion.

    Hillary voter for Obama/Biden. Yes we can! (I pray and will work for...)

    September 19, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. shocked

    Lady's you better wise up cuz that Bambi shooting ,war mongering sidekick is bs,ing her way into your back yard. She has not been faced in front of the nation and now hidden from the public.
    She wants the VP position and yet she hides.
    Obama knows more about women and thier problems in this world than Palin based on his upbringing.
    He has three women in his family and is reaching out to you. Give him your support and it will be better for you

    September 19, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Tamarra

    He has my vote

    September 19, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Jenny

    Oh no, Florida is a toss-up state again. Remember the "chad" issue?!!? (This is the state that gave us George Bush).

    September 19, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. nad

    By not choosing Hillary as his running mate it says it all. You know Hillary the one who got the most votes in the primaries. Her claws come out on her bad days and thinks she's Annie Oakly who's likable enough and has a husband that is a racist. I think Barack Obama has a major problem, The msm has been with him all the way. Those women ahh! What do they want?

    September 19, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Ya_Ya

    I would hazard a guess that many of the republican women and those leaning towards Senator McCain are married, and typically more financially secure. That's great, and I'm happy for them, But for many of the rest of us, the safety nets just are not there, we're single right out of college, or single moms, or married but working poor, and 'little' things, like having say over our own bodies and our reproductive rights can mean the difference between our families surviving (or not).

    I would not ask that you agree with my choice. Only that you allow ME to make it as I will be the one that has to live with ALL of the repercussions.

    September 19, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. everod

    Obama is the choice to take care of our women needs, Mccain is sure out of touch and palin sure does not cut it.

    September 19, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Paris

    I will not vote for this Empty shell.

    I am a registered independent and voting for John McCain.

    September 19, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. Troy

    It looks as if Ohio, Florida, Virginia and possibly Missouri will be deciding this election. It will be interesting to see if the people suffering in those states go with what got them there, or will they step out in a new direction. . . .

    September 19, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. mike


    September 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. Democrat in California

    Sorry, I cant support the Democrats this time around.

    September 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Freedom Lovin Patriot

    18 MILLION VOTED FOR OBAMA to lead our country. Based on his VISION not his experience.

    Comparing Palin's experience to Obama's is not a valid argument.

    September 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Jayson

    You won't find more of a Washington insider than John McCain.
    The vast majority of Americans are so easily fooled and even more easily led.

    September 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Mora

    McCain is circling the drain.

    September 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. Palin's daughter was given a choice! Norfolk, VA

    Palin in her statement to the world about her pregnant teenage daughter said, they were proud of her decision (CHOICE) to keep the child.

    Alaska has very liberal abortion laws!!

    If the government forces a women to have the child, then the government should be forced to take care of that child, if the parents can not or do not want to raise that child.

    Keep this great country of ours a democracy and free, not a socialist, hypocritical nation.

    Virginia Navy Veteran for Obama/Biden

    September 19, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  24. Lynn:60 yr old Obama supporter

    Obama doesn't have to "pitch" himself to women. He merely has to lay out he and Biden's records and their plans and McCain's poor record and lack of plans.. When Palin was asked exactly what policy she had to help empower women she had NO ANSWER.

    All CNN talks about are white women: what about black, Hispanic, Oriental and Muslem women.

    Where did you figures come from...they certainly don't reflect all polls!!

    September 19, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. ohio

    obama is the only person to help this country. mcpain will loose

    September 19, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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