While appearing at a fundraiser this morning in New York City with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Barack Obama talked about this election in terms of the Supreme Court and what is at stake for women. Most of Obama’s remarks today were his usual stump speech when discussing both Hillary Clinton and female voters, but he did expand his message beyond talking about the need for equal pay.
He also sought to use women’s issues to appeal to men,”But let’s be clear: these issues – equal pay, work/family balance, childcare – these are by no means just women’s issues. When a job doesn’t offer family leave that also hurts men who want to help care for a new baby or an ailing parent. When there’s no affordable childcare or after school programs, that hurts children who wind up in second rate care, or spending afternoons alone in front of the TV. When women still make just 77 cents for every dollar men make – black and Latina women even less – that doesn’t just hurt women, it hurts families who find themselves with less income, and have to work even harder just to get by.”
Obama reaffirmed his pro-choice position, “And let’s be clear, the Supreme Court’s ruling on equal pay is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s at stake in this election. Usually, when we talk about the Court, it’s in the context of reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade. And make no mistake about it, that’s a critical issue in this election. Senator McCain has made it abundantly clear that he wants to appoint justices like Roberts and Alito – and that he hopes to see Roe overturned. Well, I stand by my votes against confirming Justices Roberts and Alito. And I’ve made it equally clear that I will never back down in defending a woman’s right to choose.”
He mentioned other ways that the Supreme Court affects women’s lives, “But the Supreme Court also affects women’s lives in so many other ways – from decisions on equal pay, to workplace discrimination, to Title IX, to domestic violence, to civil rights and workers’ rights. And the question we face in this election is whether we’ll have judges who demonstrate sound judgment and empathy, who understand how law operates in our daily lives, who are committed to upholding the values at the core of our Constitution – or judges who put ideology before justice, with our fundamental rights as the first casualty.”
Polls show that Obama is doing very well with female voters. Most of the female Democrats who supported Clinton have already shifted to Obama, but since Obama struggles with getting the support of white men, he is going to need every minority and female vote he can get. These remarks today were intended for the Hillary Clinton supporters who are considering voting for McCain or staying home.
Every American has a great deal at stake in this election, but perhaps few have more to lose than liberal women. In a bad economy, they are losing more ground than men, and Republican leadership has been chipping away at their rights for the past decade. Obama may not be Clinton, but her supporters need to understand that he is a vastly superior choice over John McCain when it comes to the issues that they care about most.