October 21st, 2012
04:59 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN panel looks at the women's vote and previews foreign policy debate

(CNN) - With the election only two weeks away, both President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are giving strong attention to the critical women's vote, and a CNN panel with CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday's "State of the Union" looked at how both candidates were faring with women.

Referring to a recent Gallup poll showing Obama with only a one-point lead among likely swing-state female voters, Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said that Romney had "neutralized" the so-called gender-gap that Republican candidates usually have.

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Rogers attributed this to the Romney campaign's message on the economy and jobs, and that, she said, Obama's policies haven't worked for women. She also pointed to Romney's performance during the debates and his record as governor of Massachusetts as factors.

When presented with another Gallup poll showing that abortion was the top issue among swing state women voters, Rogers conceded that abortion was a major issue for women, but also said that women were not single-issue voters and that they also cared about the economy and government debt. Rodgers predicted that Romney would actually win the women's vote in the election.

Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland disagreed, saying that women are "crystallizing what this election is about," and predicted that women would support Obama based on his record, citing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on equal pay for women and his support for women's health through access to contraception and mammograms. Romney, said Edwards, had not expressed his support for helping to get equal pay and for women's access to contraception. However, she did agree with Rogers that women focused on other issues as well.

Joining Rogers and Edwards on the panel were CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash and Washington Post Political Correspondent Dan Balz.

Bash said that the Gallup poll was an outlier, but that Obama's lead with women has shrunk. She pointed out that women, in addition to voting more than men, tend to be late deciders, which was why both campaigns were trying to appeal to women in an almost "over-the-top" way.

Balz agreed that the poll was an outlier, saying the question wasn't whether Obama would win the women's vote, which Balz said was likely based on historical demographic voting patterns, but by how much. Balz also thought the first presidential debate helped Romney's appeal to women. However, Balz thought that the Obama campaign's ads on women's issues have been effective, citing a focus group with woman voters he attended in Northern Virginia.

The panel also previewed Monday's final presidential debate, which will focus exclusively on foreign policy, including the debate's possible effect on female voters. Although foreign policy has not been the major focus of the campaign, Bash thought the debate would still be important, and had been told by the Romney campaign that they would use the debate to show Romney's leadership abilities in order to appeal to women. Romney, said Bash, wants to show that he can be Commander-in-Chief.

Rogers said she believed that Romney would do very well at the debate, saying he would show his leadership on foreign policy and on problem solving, which would appeal to women. Rogers also mentioned Romney's commitment to bipartisanship, citing his work with a Democratic legislature as governor of Massachusetts.

Edwards said she believed that Obama would talk about his "impressive (foreign policy) record," and show his "understanding of the state of the world," citing the killing of Osama bin Laden, ending the Iraq War, and winding down the war in Afghanistan. She also thought that voters would believe that Obama's stable foreign policy would allow the country to "get our economic house in order" and focus on investing in America rather than aboard.

Balz thought that the candidates would show a "different demeanor" than at the townhall debate, and that voters would be looking at the candidates' "strength, calmness, (and) temperament."

Bash said that Romney, as the challenger to an incumbent president, had more to lose in the debate than Obama. Pointing to Romney's "binders full of women" comment at the last debate, Bash said that Romney also had to avoid statements that take away from his message.

Filed under: 2012 • State of the Union
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. St. James Place

    Why do women have to bother voting they should not worry about voting. This is a man job. Women should be a home raising the children and keeping the home clean. This Republican vote is for a conservative America.

    Willard M. Romney for president. 2012

    October 21, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. incredulous

    What woman in her right mind would vote for Romney? I'm pro life and you couldn't pay me enough to vote for him and Lyin Ryan. It's hard to say what they would damage more, the economy or women's health care.

    October 21, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Mitt is the one who eliminates Planned parenthood. Equal pay too. Yes, OB,a12.

    October 21, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. muffet

    No disrespect, but the talking heads and spinners do not have to tell me what I heard. The candidates speak clear English, although one of them, Romney lies through his teeth, so I understand what I am hearing and not hearing. Seems like the CNN team is letting them get away with it justifying falsehoods with falsehoods. Just an observation. My remedy is to watch the actual debate then call it a day.

    October 21, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. jinx88

    It seems like the more these Repukes complain about the economy the lower the unemployment rate drops. These Repukes are about to have a rude awakening Nov. 6th.

    October 21, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Richard Isacoff

    Any comments about Mr. Romney's leadership in foreign policy, with all deference to Ms. Rogers, would seem premature. While Gov. here in MA, where a Republican could pass for a near dead center Democrat most anywhere else, foreign policy was dealings with New York, VT and D.C.

    He did hone his skills through Bain by slicing and dicing a MA company, KB Toys. It only cost 5000 jobs nationally. I guess sending work to China is foreign relations re trade.

    Mr. Romney may have many credentials, but foreign policy, women's health care policy, and understanding middle-class tax and economic policy issues are 3 areas he should concede.

    Richard Isacoff

    October 21, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Politics! The republicans know that the President has the support of women by a large margin, and that the President has a very strong foreign affairs wonk, so they have started to tears down that support with lies, and strangely there are now women who support the man who doesn't trust women to do the right thing with their bodies. Also other lies to make it seems like the President's foreign affairs is falling apart. I think Romey, with all his money offshore, and in foreign countries, has paid to have the tail to wag the dog....in riots...obviously someone is paying for protesters to protest. Don't kid yourself that Romney has any feeling for the common man in America. Just how many car elevators he can place in one of three mansions that he has around the United States.

    October 21, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. Frank White

    Women really planning to vote for Romney are obviously ignoring what has been going on in states where Republicans have control of the state legislatures. They also have fallen for the idea that Romney would be different than other Republicans because he says so. As for his time as governor of Massachusetts, check the huge deficit he left the state at the end of his term and look at the employment figures for the state during his term. Add to all this that he has never seen a war he didn't like as long as he or his sons don't have to fight it. Add to that the fact that he has surrounded himself with neocons who got us into two wars in less than four years under Bush. Do women really want this man in the White House and appointing Supreme Court justices while he takes away their health care?

    October 21, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    How in the world could RMoney neutralize the gender gap? he never met a position he didn't change. he admitted he'd happily sign a bill banning ALL abortions if congress presented it to him. he represents the party that doesn't want to take care of the kids they force to be born. they want to defund Planned Parenthood, which will result in the loss of critical health care for millions of women and will cause many deaths as a result. He represents the party that trashed our economy and kept Obama from fixing it the way we hoped. he has no temperment for foreign policy, he'd rather go to war than engage in tedious, but effective, diplomacy. RMONEY is bad for women and bad for the country!

    October 21, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. John Oboho

    The international stage,is not a stage for flip-flops.I doubt if any government would have respect for Romneys words based on his flip-flop nature,especially allies of US.On a stage where a president is supposed to mean what he says,Romney would become the clown there.And I doubt if the British would change the phrase " Mitt the twit".Obama should debate to show the unsuitability of Romneys flip-flop nature on world stage,& how it can adversely affect allies confidence to have a US President who changes positions on issues like the wind.

    October 21, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. PNWjim

    I am from the state of Washington and Ms. Rogers does not represent the majority of Washington people, so please do not asscociate all of us with her or her views on pretty much anything.

    October 22, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  12. Denny

    Women in America are in charge of everything from households to small businesses to corporations to the highest levels of government. They know there is no turning back no matter how the left tries to scare them into voting against Romney. We know the plight of women in other countries so it is insulting to suggest that we are not equals here in the USA. We women do not need to vote out of fear. We have the right and duty to vote as men do, by determining what's best for our families and country right now.

    October 22, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  13. BinaryTooth

    Yep... Obama keeps thinking that women are stupid and can be told what is important to them. This will be Obama's undoing. Women are smart and can make informed decisions without Obama disrespecting them and telling them what they should do. Obama is a child.

    October 22, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  14. sonnie3

    To look a a laughing hyeina like Joe biden and compare to real human like Ryan/that would turn lots of women to the one wit fiscal brains and a plan to balance the budget. We the People will support Ryan and thats just the way the turn out will be. 4 more years of Barrack Hussein Obama would ruin this country to a point of mass destruction. and the debt would climb to 20 plus TRILLION DOLLARS!

    If you love this country the vote in November is a no brainer.
    If you have intrest of your own personal wants and needs that are above what made America Great, I feel sorry for what will happen down the road.

    Ask Not what your country can do for you
    But rather what you can do for your Country
    John F. Kennedy

    October 22, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |