Women Voters Hold Key to Obama's Re-Election Chances

First lady's speech at DNC highlights how, in a 50-50 nation, the party that wins the fight over women's rights may very well 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 speech to the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. "That's what my husband stands for."

It was a continuation of a consistent message from women at all levels 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, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley made the Republican pitch.

“Let me tell you about women. Women are extremely smart,” said Haley, the first female governor of her state. “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 of both parties 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 party whose narrative wins this fight may win the White House.

Delegates in Lockstep

Women delegates in Charlotte and Tampa, mostly leaders in their hometowns, are consistent in their messaging.

“This war on women is absolutely phony,” said Pat Longo, an RNC delegate and longtime Republican National Committee member from Wilton, CT, 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.”

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 effect 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 state Rep. Terrie Wood, a Republican who represents Darien and Norwalk in the 141st House District.

“I firmly believe social issues should be left to the individual and not to the government to decide,” Wood, who represented Connecticut as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and is a firm Romney supporter, told a Patch editor in Tampa last week. “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.”

The question is how women who share her conflicted feelings will vote.

Alethiologist September 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM
WHy would any woman vote for a regime with policies that will bankrupt this country and spell disaster for her children? Did we have children only for them to become enslaved by the state?
Cathy September 06, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Excuse me, but where in the Republican platform is there a cry to outlaw abortion? Where in the R platform are words that remove a woman's right to control her own body? I find it odd that this false impression exists in light of the OBAMACARE legislation, that now that is has passed and a few of us have actually taken Mrs Pelosi up and checked it out ...only to find the removal of everyone's ability to control their bodies on one level or another thru access to healthcare. With the bills inclusion of panel of unelected, non-medical professional government employees who will have more ability than you or your doctor to decide what medical procedures you will be permitted to experience, I think it is the Democrats who are the ones who are taking rights away from men and woman with the new healthcare bill.
Cathy September 06, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Excuse me, but where in the Republican platform is there a cry to make abortion illegal? This false accusation that the Republicans have waged a war on woman a despicable lie. I find it odd that in the Democrat (solely) supported OBAMACARE bill, that had to pass BEFORE we could see what is in it, that few have taken the time to see that it contains language that includes a panel of unelected government employees with no medical background who will have more control on what healthcare procedures both men and woman may access - regardless of what you and your doctor think. It is a fact that many Republicans speak against the act of abortion mostly because they find it morally wrong but it is their desire to not force tax payers to pay for this procedure the real issue - not making the procedure illegal. It is not a fact that they desire to outlaw this medical procedure. Yes, we can discuss late term abortion in a different discussion, but that is not what the Democrats are trying to spin here.
Alethiologist September 06, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Wait till the future health care bill says they wont pay for more than 2 children
Eric Cameron September 06, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Is it really any wonder that the Democrats would attempt to make this election about some fabricated war on women? With $16 trillion in debt, unemployment at 8% for more than 3 years, failed stimulus spending, Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, Cap & Trade, Solyndra, etc etc they obviously do not want anyone to focus on the economy and the failed policies which they have pursued. What is surprising to me is that they actually believe that women will not see right through the obvious deflection and false arguments.
Cliff Cuming September 06, 2012 at 06:38 PM
What are Obama's specific plans to improve the economy? Apart from increasing taxes on those earning more than 250k and increasing taxes on all others to pay for Obamacare...what else?
Hermann Zwergel September 06, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Keep on Keeping ON brother! NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A rally on Wall Street gained momentum Thursday as investors welcomed better-than-expected reports on the U.S. labor market and the European Central Bank's bond-buying plan. The Dow Jones industrial average surged more than 200 points, or 1.7%. The S&P 500 climbed 1.9% to its highest level since May 2007 while the Nasdaq shot up more than 2% to its highest level since November 2000.
Cliff Cuming September 06, 2012 at 07:00 PM
That's nice but who will have money in the stock market if its all taxed, taken and wasted? The 41% who pay NO taxes?
Ipso Facto September 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Where were you when W the Moron was bankrupting this country? Answer -- a happy camper obviously. W inherited a budget SURPLUS and walked out the door leaving us with more than $10 TRILLION in Federal debt. You are a total hypocrite, typical Teanderhtal loon.
Ipso Facto September 13, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I have no idea what your position is on this. Please clarify.
Ipso Facto September 13, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Evelyn -- What an evil, nonsensical post this is. The ACA has been very effective for America already. And the Republicans have offered NOTHING other than continuing the TOTALLY BROKEN. DISGUSTINGLY EXPENSIVE healthcare system we had before. Don't worry about having ANY children under that system --- no one could continue to afford it.
Ipso Facto September 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Dude -- More than $10 TRILLION of that debt was run up by your pal W the Moron. Start with that fact...what is surprising to me is that folks like you totally ignore how your party has destroyed America. And this is why we will not allow W the Moron Act 2 (Mittens) back in the WH.
Ipso Facto September 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Cliff --- Google this dude. I promise you there is SO MUCH detailed legislative proposals and signed Acts. Are you interested in facts...or just spreading toxic Republican nonsense?
Cliff Cuming September 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM
More of Ipso's war on women.
Cliff Cuming September 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Where are your math skills ipso?
Cliff Cuming September 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM


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