Team Romney stumbles on Ledbetter question
April 11th, 2012
01:02 PM ET
11 years ago

Team Romney stumbles on Ledbetter question

(CNN) - The Mitt Romney campaign's failure to answer a reporter's question Wednesday over the support of an equal-pay for women law was quickly pounced on by President Barack Obama's campaign, marking the first skirmish of the general election now that Romney is the apparent GOP nominee.

On a conference call with reporters, Romney campaign surrogates were asked if the candidate supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act that expands workers' rights to sue if a pay discrepancy between a man and woman exists.

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The reply: "We'll get back to you on that," Romney Campaign Policy Director Lanhee Chen said.

Chen was one of three participants on the call that focused on what the campaign has called the Obama administration's "war on women," a reaction to the co-called Romney "war on women" perpetuated by critics of the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney Campaign Spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg reacted to Wednesday's call saying Romney supports pay equity, but did not expressly say whether the candidate was in favor on the Ledbetter law.

"Women account for more than 92% of jobs lost under Barack Obama. Of course Mitt Romney supports pay equity for women. The real question is whether President Obama supports jobs for women," Henneberg said in a statement.

Team Romney also sent a graph detailing female job losses since Obama took office, continuing the campaign's narrative over the last few days.

A campaign representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Romney "supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law."

But the Obama campaign quickly capitalized on the call, issuing a statement from Ledbetter that criticized Romney for failing to "stand up for women and their families." The 2009 Act, inspired by a case involving Ledbetter, was the first bill signed into law by the president.

"If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn't have to take time to 'think' about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act," Ledbetter said in the statement. "Anyone who wants to be President of the United States shouldn't have to think about whether they support pursuing every possible avenue to ensuring women get the same pay for the same work as men."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said the comment would constitute a "tough day" for the Romney campaign.

"Tough day on the Mitt Rehab With Women Tour. On call, his team punts when asked if he supports the Lily Ledbetter pay equity law," Axelrod wrote via Twitter.

- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Also see:

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Louisiana governor endorses Romney

Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Jobs • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Or Romney just doesn't jump into supporting a law without fulling reading it and weighing the ramifications."

    Or Mittens is just blowing smoke that he gives a flying rat's pink patoot about women's employment issues, isn't informed about the issues and needs to go check the polls to figure out what's safe to say to the conservative extremists during the primary but still let's him Etch-A-Sketch it for the general election.

    April 11, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Niko_in_Richmond

    Lizzie – Let's divide this country even further, class-warfare, black-white. When the Huffington Post asks a question, better watch out.

    Well, it has been the Republicans who have boxed themselves in the corner on the women's issues, so don't try to blame the Huffington Post for that. I don't think that the HuffPo has been passing bills trying to eliminate a woman's access to an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest, nor has it been trying to force a medically unnecessary ultrasound on a woman as part of that effort. These are things that are being pushed by the GOP. They are the ones who, while complaining about the size of government, have been instrumental in injecting the government into private/familial issues. The fact of the matter is that, if Mittens wants to be president, he has to take a position on certain issues, and saying, we have to think about that, is not acceptable, especially in light of the fact that the Republicans have started this so-called "war on women." It's an issue he should have been well-versed on, not something he needs to research.

    April 11, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Dave

    Sorry, Mitt, you're not running against a group of dolts anymore. You're actually going to have to think on your feet and be accountable for the ridiculous garbage you and the GOP spews. I know these things are tough for Republicans, but give it your best try.

    April 11, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The reply: "We'll get back to you on that," Romney Campaign Policy Director Lanhee Chen said."

    Romney, Romney, Romney. For a supposed "frontrunner" you're awfully unprepared. Indeed, one might even go so far as to argue that you're astonishingly disinterested in that which doesn't apply to your own personal ambition. Oh, well. Your problem, not mine. P.S. Better stock up on etch a sketches. Something tells me you'll be relying on them more and more as your campaign lies press on.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 11, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. rob

    Another distraction made up by the Obama campaign and repeated by the liberal media.

    Here are some facts: 2 million people dropping out of the job market, 8.2% unemployment, TRILLION DOLLAR deficits as far as the eye can see, 16 TRILLION debt, more taxes, more regulation, higher gas prices, less energy production, stagnant GDP growth and the Presidents campaign running on nothing else but smearing his opponent on bogus issues and dividing Americans along racial, gender and economic lines in a pathetic attempt to get re-elected.

    Very sad, very sad.

    April 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Concerned

    @ Lolo – just stating my opinion, like you are – except with less hatred. You should look in the mirror, and then take a deep breath. Just because GOP doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they're ignorant.

    To the point about the current administration trying to score political points – Gitmo EO, Key Stone decision, Obamacare – just three examples of what happens when you don't much for thinking fast on your feet. Obama had no experience going into the White House and has experienced only failure since moving in.

    April 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Charlotte

    If Mittens doesn't already know the details of the Ledbetter Act then he is intellectually lazy, not well informed on current issues and therefore does not deserve consideration for the Presidency. And his campaign trying to hijack the "war on women" moniker – which firmly and undeniably is the domain of the GOP and its horrible policies – is ludicrous. Obama bad for women? Nobody is going to fall for such a lame attempt on Mittiepoo's part.

    April 11, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Romney / Bush
    2012 Restore our Future by forgetting about our past.

    April 11, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. WhereIsPalin

    The Mitt Romney campaign's failure to answer a reporter's question Wednesday over..............[fill in topic here]

    Get used to it.

    April 11, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    Another winning response from team Mittens........ You just can't make this stuff up

    April 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. Dave

    Here we go now: the liberal media is now going to attack Romney full speed ahead (while ignoring Obama's failures).

    April 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Blindersoff

    No matter what facts about the economy are embellished by the republican part, they are the blame . . . The great obstructionist party of no, no and no!

    April 11, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. PJ/TX

    "...only a biased reporter would ask such a stupid question." ??????????
    Only a 'biased' uninformed dolt would call equal pay for women a 'stupid question'.

    April 11, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. RichSF

    Of course Mittens doesn't know what his position should be on the issue. His party's idea bank is bankrupt. Their basic philosophy is: 1) if it benefits corporations, it's good; 2) if it benefits the 1% it's good; 2) if it's something Obama supports, it's bad. That's about it.

    Anything else, defer to what Grover Norquist, Rush Limbagh or Karl Rove think. And never worry, Fox will back them up.

    April 11, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. kayla

    get use to that answer everyone, because that will be their answer for most of the questions asked
    becuase they don't know

    April 11, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Roger

    Millions of women lost their homes as well as their jobs. Someone needs to help us instead of ignoring it or blaming someone else. Solutions are the key to this election.

    April 11, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. wwf

    You who continue to bash the liberal media seem to forget good old Fox News. They would not say anything bad about the right no matter what crime they committed. They would be able to excuse it away like Mitt's elevators.
    Give me a break.

    April 11, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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