Conservatives hit back in 'war on women'
July 11th, 2012
11:42 AM ET
8 years ago

Conservatives hit back in 'war on women'

(CNN) - American Crossroads, an independent conservative group, challenged the Democratic-fueled message that Republicans have waged a "war on women," releasing a scorching web video Wednesday that turns the charge back onto Democrats.

"There is a war on women in America," a female narrator says in the ad, as words flash on the screen: "It's called the Obama economy."

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The one-minute web video lists a number of statistics about poverty and women, and blames President Barack Obama for rising unemployment rates among women.

"Under President Obama, the number of women living in poverty has skyrocketed, hit hardest in every poverty related category," the narrator says.

While the video only appears online, it could soon make it to the airwaves. The group's super PAC, Crossroads GPS, has spent tens of millions of dollars to run advocacy ads in the race for the White House that are critical of the president and in support of GOP lawmakers and candidates in crucial Senate contests.

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for American Crossroads, said the group is testing the video in focus groups, with "an eye toward potentially creating a 30-second TV ad out of its content."

The new web ad cites a study from the National Women's Law Center saying 17 million women are now in poverty, 800,000 more than when the president took office in January 2009.

The video also argues that the poverty rate for Hispanic women is "growing faster than any other group" and that men are gaining four times as many jobs as women in the lagging economic recovery.

It further points to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report from July that says three quarters of a million more women are unemployed.

"Poverty. Unemployment. Fading hopes. That's not the change we voted for," the narrator says.

"If the president wants to talk about a war on women, let's have that debate and see how many more women are unemployed or have gone into poverty on his watch," stated a press release from American Crossroads.

Obama's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the video.

The ad marks the latest development in what's been a 2012 battle over women's issues. During the Republican presidential primary, Democrats were especially vocal in pinning the GOP presidential candidates–namely Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney–for some of their socially conservative positions.

The so-called war on women charge also stemmed from fierce Republican opposition to an Obama administration ruling that would have required religiously-affiliated institutions to include contraception coverage in health insurance plans for employees.

Many in the GOP took issue with the ruling, eventually causing such an uproar that the administration amended the policy so that insurance companies–not the institutions–would be required to cover contraception costs.

Democrats also faulted Republicans for opposing reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which many in the GOP claimed had included additional provisions unnecessary for the law. The measure eventually passed the Republican-controlled House in May, though not without intense debate over the bill.

But with Election Day less than four months away, both campaigns will engage in heated competition over women voters, which make up a key voting bloc in presidential politics.

In 2008, Obama won the female vote over Sen. John McCain by a notable margin, 56% to 43%, according to CNN exit polls.

And recent polls this year again show the president with a double-digit lead over his Republican rival.

Team Romney, however, has also adopted the message that Democrats are the ones waging a "war on women."

Speaking in Delaware in April, Romney accused Obama's administration of failing working women.

"The real war on women has been the job losses as the result of the Obama economy," he told an audience in Wilmington, saying women had lost 92.3% of jobs lost under the Obama administration.

An analysis of federal labor statistics shows that the claim is technically true but is missing important context.

The number of non-farm employed women from January 2009, when Obama took office, to March 2012 did fall far more than the number of employed men in that period. The total job loss for the period for both men and women combined was 740,000. The number of women who lost non-farm jobs in that time span was 683,000, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That amounts to 92.3% – the figure Romney cites in his campaign talking point. However, the statistic does not reflect that men constituted a much larger chunk of the job loss pie in the year leading up to Obama's inauguration.

In the 2008 calendar year, men lost a total of 2.7 million non-farm jobs, compared to 895,000 jobs lost for women. Men made up 75.4% of the 3.6 million jobs lost that year.

- CNN's Jessica Yellin, Ashley Killough, Rachel Streitfeld and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • American Crossroads
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Surfer George

    The women and "supporters of women" who think this ad/"statistic" reflects some actual assault on women are already Born Again Republicans. Democrats and Independents (the Thinking Class) see their attempt for what it is – empty and desperate.

    July 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Under Bush in his last three years, we lost 8 million jobs. I wonder if any of those 8 million were women.

    July 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. tellin it like it is

    truth is obama has waged war on the entire country except his union buddies and campaign supporters. they have been rewarded lavishly. hopefully this country never sees another president like him again. he is supposed to represent all americans. pitting one segment of amercians against another is as unamerican as it gets in my book.

    July 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. rs

    Yes, pehaps unemployment for women is up under the Obama Administration but it is AS A RESULT OF THE RECESSION CAUSED BY THE REPUBLICANS AND PRESIDENT BUSH IN 2008. Does the GOP actually believe that no one understands this rather fundamental and irrefutable fact?

    July 11, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "the statistic does not reflect that men constituted a much larger chunk of the job loss pie in the year leading up to Obama's inauguration."

    And experts will tell you that during a recession men lose jobs first and faster due to the typical roles they are filling in the workforce, while women tend to lose them more slowly and over a more sustained period of time. Of course, facts and historical record and the opinions of experts based thereon...those don't matter. What matters here is that the GOP/Teatrolls are desperately trying to play "I know you are but what am I?" by citing a correlational statistic as though it proves causation all while ignoring WHY women were losing their jobs and where the problems that caused it to happen originated. It's the same thing with their "unemployment is 8.2% under Obama" while pretending he didn't inherit an economy already bleeding jobs like a stuck pig. But enough rational thought...be angry...be fearful...be uninformed...THAT'S now what it means to be Amurikan, after all.

    July 11, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. rs

    Dear GOP- now, please explain precisely how producing no jobs-related bills, but more than 100 anti-birth control and anti abortion bills helped unemployment among women?

    There, sirs, is YOUR war on women.

    July 11, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Almost all of those jobs were lost during the first year of the administration. In fact, the previous year, 2008, saw a disproportionate number of men being laid off and losing their jobs. If you average out the two years, 2008 and 2009, both men and women lost jobs at equivalent rates.

    In other words, the Romney Campaign is cherry picking the facts in a bald attempt to mislead the publc. What they do not stay is just as important as what they do say.

    July 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. California Gary

    Now that is the very definition of "chutzpah".........does the GOP really want to bring women's issues back to the front burner? On this issue, they lose......hands down.

    July 11, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    Too late
    Rush Limbaugh and red state legislator didn’t respect women , Now going after women votes too late

    July 11, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Four and The Door

    "If the president wants to talk about a war on women, let's have that debate and see how many more women are unemployed or have gone into poverty on his watch," stated a press release from American Crossroads.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Even worse I think is the fact that the Obama Administration has actually negotiated with the Taliban and is creating an exit plan from Afghanistan that predictably brings the Taliban back in power in 2014. We all know how women are treated under Taliban rule. Worse than any American would treat their dog. Why does he accept this? Because they are Afghani women? It's inhumane and unacceptable.

    July 11, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. tellin it like it is

    >rs – AS A RESULT OF THE RECESSION CAUSED BY THE REPUBLICANS AND PRESIDENT BUSH IN 2008

    i'm curious, can you, or anybody, explain exactly what did bush and the republicans do in 2008 to cause the recession? especiallly since the democrats controlled both the house and the senate which is two thirds of the government.

    July 11, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    Planned parenthood devasted under GOP thugs!!!!! WARS created nation on DRAIN Fiscally!!!!Bain Capital shipped jobs to CHINA, INDIA, Manufacturinf moved to Canada, Mexico. Yes, on OBAMA 2012.

    July 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The three years leading up to the Bush/republican depression accounted for the loss of 8 million jobs. Hopefully we will never see a president as incompetent as Bush. Mittens does not seem to be as bright as boy "W" so look out America!

    July 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Jon

    Good article until the spin at the end. Just because under Obama unemployment and poverty for women has skyrocketed (is worse than it ever was under Bush) ... is made ok because under Bush unemployment for men was worse.

    July 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. California Gary

    Say there "tellin it like it is".........The unions have been treated "lavishly" have they? Seems to me they have been under assault ever since the GOP made gains in the 2010 election. They are certainly not rolling in "lavishness".....far from it. With a name tag like the one you are using, you should try to make it a little more real.

    July 11, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Ex-GOP Con

    So what they're saying is the 1% so-called job creators are using their tax savings to hire men over women and giving the men obscene bonuses.

    Thanks.

    July 11, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. tellin it like it is

    >In other words, the Romney Campaign is cherry picking the facts in a bald attempt to mislead the publc. What they do >not stay is just as important as what they do say.

    the facts are the facts sorry if you don't like the facts. obamas term is 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 so those years are the years he is responsible for. you counted the first years of bushs term as his when he got handed a recession from clinton and had no problem with it. now that is cherry picking.

    July 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    In only 9 months under Bush, we had the 9/11 attacks, the tax cuts for the wealthy, and this led to two unfunded wars, not going after the master mind of 9-11,bin Laden, unfunded drug programs, an increase in our national debt of $4.6 trillion, and a near depression.

    July 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Evidently Fox foreign owned media did not explain to their viewers that the economy under Bush, was 'cratering.'

    July 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Scott

    I am not surprised, Obama has wage a constant war on women in the work place,, he is quick to accuse Republicans about waging war on women, which they do not, fact check has shown that. Yet if the Republicans say anything against your liberal god you all get bent out of shape. If you do not like the message then don't listen.

    July 11, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Name JR

    The employment to population ratio is the lowest ever. EVER. This is not a result of Bush. This is the natural shakeout of many many factors. Do the democrats think everybody should work for the govt. If not, why not? I would challenge anybody to tell me what Washington or the Feds can do to help the economy. They can't. The only thing they can do is what the luckiest man in the world did. Clinton got the hell out of the way once he put his wife In the closet. Maybe bad metaphor there.

    July 11, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Scott

    Wire Palladin, you need to check your facts, you are distorting the truth as always. Research before you post.

    July 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Dioor wrote:

    ...Even worse I think is the fact that the Obama Administration has actually negotiated with the Taliban ....
    ---------------
    Reagan negotiated with the Soviets.
    Nixon negotiated with the Maoists in China.
    George W. Bush shot first and didn't ask any questions later.

    July 11, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. rob

    Finally we are seeing Republicans fighting fire with fire. The Dems no longer have a monopoly on the media and will be called out by more fair and ballanced media sources. The Republicans have learned to fight back. The liberal media is more interested in getting Dems elected than reporting the truth.

    July 11, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Good article until the spin at the end. Just because under Obama unemployment and poverty for women has skyrocketed (is worse than it ever was under Bush) ... is made ok because under Bush unemployment for men was worse."

    Nobody said that. It's called explaining WHY things are happening instead of simply looking at A and B, seeing that they occurred at the same time and then ASSUMING that A caused B. Women didn't lose their jobs during Obama's presidency BECAUSE of Obama's policies. They lost them BECAUSE of a recession built up and CAUSED by untenable, unsustainable and unmanageable GOP/conservative governance based that was based on ridiculous ideology and by a housing bubble that was blatantly abused by a financial industry that placed a premium on gambling games and risk-taking under the GOP's deregulatory policies and lax oversight. DO YOU REALLY THINK WOMEN ARE SO STUPID THAT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND THESE BASIC FACTS? The reality is, this desperate game of trying to turn around everything they are accused of and accuse Obama of it too is very thin, very cynical and very stupid playground warfare. Underlying this advertisement is the assumption that women are all so stupid they can be fooled by such a blatant glossing-over and rewrite of history to turn correlation into causation...AND WOMEN EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE INSULTED BY SUCH A CHILDISH AND INSULTING ATTEMPT TO SWAY THEIR VOTES.

    July 11, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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