President speaks on women's rights, GOP hone in on rising energy prices in weekly addresses
March 12th, 2011
01:55 PM ET
12 years ago

President speaks on women's rights, GOP hone in on rising energy prices in weekly addresses

Washington (CNN)-President Obama noted that March is Women's History Month, calling it a time to celebrate "the progress that women have made" and the "women throughout history who have made that progress possible," in the weekly presidential address.

He recalled how Eleanor Roosevelt challenged President Kennedy to find qualified women for top posts in his administration, and that Kennedy asked her to head a new presidential commission to study the status of women in America in response. "It's been almost fifty years since the Roosevelt commission published its findings -and there have been few similar efforts by the government in the decades that followed," the president remarked.

Last week the White House issued what Obama described as a "comprehensive report on the status of women in the spirit of the one

The report, Obama said, listed areas of progress and need for improvement, including the finding that women are more likely than men to attend and graduate from college although they still, on average, earn less than men, are "still more likely to live in poverty in this country," and "there are areas like math and engineering where women are vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts."

The president framed equal pay for equal work as a "family issue" and acknowledged the need to "harness the talents of all our people" as a strategy to "win the future."

He also pointed out that one of his first acts as president was to "women who've been discriminated against in their salaries could have their day in court to make it right," but Obama openly denounced the fact that another bill failed to pass the Senate by two votes.

"I was disappointed when an important bill to give women more power to stop pay disparities-the Paycheck Fairness Act-was blocked …And that's why I'm going to keep up the fight to pass the reforms in that bill," he affirmed.

Like Eleanor Roosevelt, the president said, "We have to work even harder to close the gaps that still exist, and to uphold that simple American ideal: we are all equal and deserving of the chance to pursue our own version of happiness."

Alaska Senator Murkowski opened the GOP weekly address by expressing compassion for the "people of Japan in the wake of Friday's terrible earthquake and tsunami."

"In Alaska the memories of the devastating 1964 quake are still with us…We share and support the President's commitment to bring America's resources to bear to help Japan recover-and we commend the actions he's taken so far," she said.

Murkowski framed the "tragedy" in Japan and the "upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa" as reminders of "how intertwined our world economy is" and emphasized the need to "control the things we can."

The third-term senator turned the focus of her address to energy, and named "rising energy prices" as a "threat." She said Republicans are ready to take steps like ending the "de facto moratorium on new development in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Rocky Mountain West" to "put people back to work" because "It might surprise you that we're still the world's third-largest oil producer, and seem to find more whenever we actually look."

"The worst part of this emerging crisis is that our own government deserves much of the blame," she continued.

Though "international events have pushed prices higher," Murkowski also singled out the "short sightedness" of government as playing a "critical role" in climbing gas prices.

She addressed the need to "cut red tape and streamline regulations" because "both supply and demand affect oil prices, and that's why Republicans support both new production and alternatives to reduce consumption…We also want energy to be affordable, abundant, diverse, and domestic."

"Republicans believe that Americans deserve better," said Murkowski, "We're ready to make meaningful progress on energy, and we're hopeful that our Democratic colleagues will join us."

Filed under: Energy • GOP weekly address • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. CBR

    The President is talking about issues that are important to women while the Republicans are worried about energy prices. It might be a good time for them to own up to the roll they have played in the past regarding oil. 1) A little war on the Kuwait/Iraq border. 2) A full scale war on Iraq. 3) Support for the tremendous wealth of the oil companies with no push to get them to lower prices. 4) Mobil Oil Company enormous wealth. 5) Bringing costs and pay for executives into the realm of reality.

    March 12, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. seriously???

    It is the government's fault– so many years of shortsighted pandering to oil companies when we all freaking know that supply will someday run out. Thank God we have a President that looks to the future rather than one day at a time.

    March 12, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Michigan Don

    What steps? Republicans own and run the oil compqanies.I Its their GREED that is fuel these price increases. Proof: look for their quarterly reports to see the vast profits they are raking in at our ex pense.

    March 12, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Albo58

    These pandering monthly racial and gender "celebrations" do NOT unite us as a country. On the contrary, it only drives a wedge between folks that are ALL members of our country and society. How about just having American month 12 times a year and be proud of that? Furthermore, unless you have 2 passports, you are NOT Italian-American nor African-American!

    March 12, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. jules sand-perkins

    Ah yes, women's rights...
    How about a televised debate between Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann about a woman's right to abortion?
    Either of these two women–pardon me, I meant ladies–might be our nation's next president, you know.
    Now, there you go with equal rights for women!

    March 12, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. diridi

    Rising energy and gas prices are causing because of negligence on the part of GOP while they are in the office all these years. Listen, China and India are using Gas. We are competing with them. They are more in number in populace. We should have made energy independence long time ago. We should have had solid public transportation system. well, we are awake by this administration, we are doing on Hybrid, and energy efficiency cars, and, we are getting Electric cars, like Volt, Leaf, etc, It takes some time....wait till then without murmur, mumble.....o.k.....we are on right track....GOP messed this nation....we are suffering at pump.....good days are ahead. be optimistic....Go Obama 2012..........

    March 12, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How does one explain to a republican that their good old GOP supporters from Wall Street are making a fortune by manipulating the price of oil with their gambling on oil futures? It is not helpful that the lying republicans have shot down all energy policies.

    March 12, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When gasoline was over $4 a gallon during the summer of 2008, during the end of the Bush debacle, the republicans did nothing. Supply and demand may have an effect on oil, but not as much as Wall Street does.

    March 12, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Bill from GA

    In support of Universal Women's Rights, I suggest we end trade with all countries that don't have equal rights for women. Oh, wait, that would interfere with our oil supply.

    Gotta have the right to drive a gas guzzler. The heck with Women's Rights in, for instance, Saudi Arabia.

    March 12, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Indy

    The reason oil activity has been sparse lately was because of the low price per barrel and big oil wanted to run the supply down. The Republicans can continue to lie about why production slowed and why the prices are now higher but those who want the truth can find it in the oil companies.All over North America there has seen less exploration because of low prices, which had nothing to do with Government.Republicans continue to do nothing about creating jobs and think that lying and blaming Obama for everything will make everyone forget that they have yet to create ONE job.Republicans have no truth or grasp of reality when it comes to energy and fail to realize that prices will not go down by drilling more in the US. The only way oil prices will come down is if the whole world starts using alternative energy sources which Obama understands.Murkowski fails to explain exactly what Obama has done to create higher fuel prices, simply because it is not true. Most of the world is seeing record high prices of fuel and Americans are paying much less then many other countries and you can't blame Obama for the worldwide prices of oil

    March 12, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Bill from GA

    In solidarity with the oppressed women of Saudi Arabia, I think all women should immediately get rid of their SUV's, pickups, and other gas hogs.

    My joke for the day. We're not really serious about anyone's rights, not if it means sacrifice.

    March 12, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The Greedy Old Pigs keep lying about oil prices. The US has virtually NO control over gas prices, even if President Obama could magically convert all our reserves into usable gasoline overnight. The Greedy Old Parasites also refuse to acknowledge the prices are due to situations in foreign countries and market speculators. Note also how the Greedy Old Propagandists ignore the huge corporate tax breaks energy companies receive at great cost to the poor, middle class, US workers and the environment.

    March 12, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. KatR

    "Republicans believe that Americans deserve better," said Murkowski, "We're ready to make meaningful progress on energy, and we're hopeful that our Democratic colleagues will join us."

    How about you join your Democratic colleagues instead of waiting for them to join you? They've already got the ideas. With your support we CAN make meaningful progress on energy. You need to quit slamming Democratic ideology and LISTEN and THINK. I'm sure, like many, many Americans you will discover that there are many, many similarities between the GOP and the DEM governing ideologies. To being though you must be willing to compromise. So far, I've seen that over and over again from the DEM party while your party continues to ignore other ideas.

    March 12, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. JHA in Texas

    GOP response speaks loudly "that America deserves better and GOP are ready to make meaningful progess on ENERGY". GOP understands with 100 % clarity that financial speculators are driving up the price on a barrel of oil / a gallon of gasoline. GOP knows there is no oil supply shortage, no decrease in refining capacity or additional transportation costs. Speculators bets have added THIRTY PER CENT (30 %) to price of oil / gasoline to American people, just to feed their greed. Wall Street greed is unbelievable, TARP, BAILOUTS, FED's loans to Big Banks, example AIG rescue – GOLDMAN SACHS alone made $ 23 billion dollars on pass through payments and naked derivative bets.

    Lets help Main Street with a temporary Wall Street financial transaction fee. Wall Street would not complain to bail out Americans who need help – somewhere down the road they are going to want access to our public funds again.

    March 12, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Maybe instead of the US dipping into its strategic oil reserves, the oil industry should dip into its $60 BILLION yearly subsidy from the US taxpayers to keep prices down.

    Besides, all these freedom-loving rightwingers need to get used to the fact that as the Middle Eastern countries work to throw off the yolk of oppression, the region is going to become less stable. If the rightwingers truly support democracy, then they need to suck it up and pay a little higher at the pump or ask the oil companies to do their bit to bring down the price.

    March 12, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. lndepend

    You Republicans are big oil. How is the party who deregulated everything,going to compromise with anybody except your Lobbyist! President Obama two terms. Lets fix our Republican economic Crash of 08! Go Obama,Womens Rights!!!

    March 12, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |