Women Voters Key for Obama's Re-election

The First Lady's speech highlights how, in a 50-50 nation, the narrative that wins this fight may win the White House.

CHARLOTTE, NC — President Obama "believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care,” first lady Michelle Obama said during her Tuesday speech to the Democratic National Convention. "That's what my husband stands for."

It was a continuation of a consistent message from women at all levels of the Democratic party: this election is about the government’s right to control your body. 

Earlier that day, just a few blocks away from where Mrs. Obama spoke, Gov. Nikki Haley made the Republican pitch.  

“Let me tell you about women. Women are extremely smart,” the first female governor of South Carolina said. “They care about a lot more than contraception.”

Those two arguments—that the 2012 presidential election is about women’s rights, and that women’s rights are a distraction from economic factors that affect American families—have been made again and again by supporters at every level in Charlotte this week and in Tampa last week. Much has been said about 2012 being a grand debate over the federal budget, but in a 50-50 nation, the narrative that wins this fight may win the White House.

Delegates in Lockstep

Women delegates in Charlotte and Tampa, who are more often than not leaders in their hometowns, are consistent in their messaging.

“This war on women is absolutely phony,” said RNC delegate from Connecticut Pat Longo last week. “It’s strictly to distract from issues of debt, deficit, and spending.”

“Wisconsin women need to realize that we need to worry about what's going on for our kids and our grandkids,” said Patty Reiman,

On the streets of Uptown Charlotte, female physiology is front and center: Planned Parenthood supporters wear pink shirts everywhere, and Austin delegate Heather Ross went so far as to walk the streets of Charlotte with a pink felt “uterus” stitched into her ballcap.

Asked what American women need from this election, delegate Grace Carrington from Coral Springs, Md. said, “Let us make our decisions for our bodies. Period.”

Miami Democratic Delegate Bonnie Weiner stressed that the most important issue for her was that, “We could have our most basic and important rights taken from us.”

The Diminishing Number of Undecided Women

ABC News released a poll on Tuesday suggesting Republicans were cutting into Obama’s advantage among women. Michelle Obama's speech, stressing that "at the end of the day, my most important title is still 'mom-in-chief'" was no doubt designed to make up some of that lost ground.

But regardless of the affect of last night's speech, the army of businesswomen, moms and sisters on either side may continue to sway voters back and forth for the next 60 days.

As voting women pick sides, the best remaining opportunities may lie with women like Connecticut Representative Terrie Wood.

“I firmly believe social issues should be left to the individual and not to the government to decide,” Wood told a Patch editor in Tampa.

“I find a lot of women in our community register as Democrats because they’re pro-choice and they support gay rights. Well, most of us [conservative women in Connecticut] do too.”

Wood is a Republican delegate and a firm Romney supporter. The question is how women who share her conflicted feelings will vote.

Ric September 08, 2012 at 12:27 AM
@Faux Allah. My mother was a Roman Catholic from a family of many generations of Roman Catholics. My father was a Baptist from a family of many generations of Baptists. Yet, I am neither a Roman Catholic nor a Baptist, I am a Presbyterian. Get a clue; they are on sale at Wal-Mart. It does not matter what a person's parent’s beliefs were. That does not wash down with the genes.
Ric September 08, 2012 at 12:33 AM
@Faux Allah. Besides Mitt is a Mormon. I trust them even less than I trust Muslims which I do not trust at all.
Deleted because of harassment September 08, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I read the comments here, and I wonder how many of you remember Rush's comments on the day of the Inaugeration that he wanted the President to fail. That has been the mantra for the extremists that have tried to take over the country - the one we ALL belong to - for the past four years. I am a woman who is sick and tired of anyone's "beliefs" dictating to me what I can and can not do to my reproductive organs, at the same time denying me the legal right to equal pay for equal work, to protect myself from acts of violence by strangers out of some hysterical belief that rape does not impregnate women, and that somehow the woman so violated will come to accept the product of that violent act. There is a war on woman, and it's nothing new. Just try being a woman who wants to keep her own name once married, who wants to get the hell out of the pink collar ghetto in the work place and not have a job that starts with filing papers or taking someone's words, or answering the telephone. Try getting a job as a mechanic, or paying for the birth control or childcare you need to be supporting yourself. And if you are so dumb as to believe that the daughter-in-law of the president of American Motors lived in a basement appartment with an ironing board for a table...well, please stay home and watch "Fox and Friends" for the results. You won't be missed at the polls, which are for people with functional minds who don't believe in every bit of crap you hear on the internet.
Allah September 08, 2012 at 02:42 AM
@ Ric, and the rest of the blind followers, did you even watch the video? They are his words, HIS faith. You people are so stupid, you can't even believe your own eyes and ears. Fortunately I am using a fake name, duh Ric (faux)? I guess that means I'm not the real one? I voted for the guy, and at least I am willing to say, I made a mistake. And DBofH, do you understand Muslim beliefs about women? You might want to read up if Obama wins.
Joanne Smythe September 08, 2012 at 02:55 AM
So much hostility and bitterness -- talk about "extremist." Women who don't whine, but rather DO: Carly Fiorina (HP), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Meg Whitman (HP), Virginia Rometty (IBM), Patricia Woertz (ADM), Indra Nooyi (Pepsico), Irene Rosenfeld (Kraft Foods), Ellen Kullman (DuPont), Carol Meyrowitz (TJ Maxx), Ursula Burns (Xerox), Denise Morrison (Campbell), Gracia Martore (Gannett).


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