Entries in Equal Pay (2)


Paul Ryan Courts Women After ‘Binders Full of Women’ Comment

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(OCALA, Fla.) -- The courting of female voters has intensified since Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s debate Tuesday, with the candidates pivoting to focus on women after Romney’s “binders full of women” comment, as well as some waffling by a Romney senior adviser on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was even asked about jobs for women at his town hall in Ocala, Fla., Thursday.

In a steamy town square, Ryan was asked by a female attendee if his ticket had “any plan in place for jobs specifically for women.”

He immediately answered much as his running mate has in the past: “Get the economy growing, number one.”

Tuesday night, Romney was asked about equal pay for women. He answered that when he became the governor of Massachusetts he got “binders full of women” when he made a “concerted effort” to find qualified women for his cabinet. The comment quickly became an Internet joke, and also has put the GOP ticket in a corner, trying to persuade women a Romney administration would serve their interests best.  The Republicans have been hammered by both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the campaign trail about the comment. Ryan even mentioned his ticket’s support for women Wednesday when he stumped with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In Ocala, Ryan blasted the president on both the stimulus and funds that have gone to green energy. Then he said, “Over five million women have just left the workforce. Fewer women are working today than when (Obama) took office. And so of the people who have been hit the hardest, it’s women.”

Ryan then talked about job skills and training and how that can help women seeking employment.

“Now, what we need is a growing economy that gives people more flexibility in their schedules, what we need is the ability to get people -- we have point two of our five-point plan is our jobs training benefits,” Ryan said, adding that states should customize their own job training programs “to meet the unique needs of women.”

“What so many women need is the ability to have flexibility,” Ryan said. “Especially if you’re women with children, you want to have flexibility to have the kind of a job that gives you the ability to meet all of your needs and your family. That’s what job training skills are all about, that’s what growth is all about.”

Ryan said, “Most women get their jobs from successful small businesses,” and promised a Romney-Ryan administration would help grow those businesses, which he said are more flexible about many women’s schedules.

“We’ve got to champion small businesses which are the kinds of companies that have flexible job schedules that women can get easily back in to the workforce. Most people don’t get their jobs from the really big corporations, they get their jobs from successful small businesses,” Ryan said. “And of all the things we can do to get women back into the workforce, get them the skills they need, get an economy, and help those small businesses bring them back into the workforce so they can provide for themselves and their families.”

Ryan never mentioned pay equity; the questioner in Ocala did not either. However, after the debate, the Romney campaign also wavered on the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act with Romney adviser Ed Gillespie first telling reporters after the debate Romney “was opposed to” the proposed legislation “at the time,” but would not repeal it once in office. The next day Gillespie said he was wrong, and Romney “never weighed in on it,” and if Romney became president he would not repeal it. In Congress, Ryan voted against the Ledbetter Act.

On Thursday, Ryan said his job in the House of Representatives has “always been to listen to our employers.”

“Mitt Romney and I are applying for a job,” Ryan said. “You are our employers. We the people run the government not the other way around. The government works for the people. The government doesn’t run the people.”

Polls in Florida have Obama and Romney in a dead heat in the crucial state. It’s why Ryan is spending two days there, much of it on the critical I-4 corridor across the middle of the state. On Thursday, Ryan held a fundraiser and campaign event in the Ft. Myers area; he also reached out to Iowa voters, holding a tele-town hall with them in the afternoon. He will continue to campaign in Florida Friday, including a joint event with his running mate in Daytona Beach.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Campaign Wavers On Lilly Ledbetter Act

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Less than 24 hours after Tuesday night’s debate, a top adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign switched his statement about whether the Republican presidential candidate would have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act before it was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2009.

Speaking to reporters after the debate at Hofstra University in New York, Romney aide Ed Gillespie said that Romney “was opposed to” the proposed legislation “at the time,” but that he would not repeal it if elected.

Those comments were first reported by the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, and up until Wednesday night, neither the GOP presidential hopeful nor his campaign had disclosed whether Romney would have backed the fair pay law, which grants alleged victims more time to file suit in pay discrimination cases.

But it appears Gillespie got ahead of the candidate. In a follow-up statement sent to the Huffington Post Wednesday afternoon, he acknowledged that he misstated Romney’s position.

“I was wrong when I said last night Governor Romney opposed the Lily Ledbetter act,” according to the statement from Gillespie. “He never weighed in on it. As President, he would not seek to repeal it.”

Indeed, in an interview this April, ABC’s Diane Sawyer, asked Romney: “If you were president -- you had been president -- would you have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Law?”

“It’s certainly a piece of legislation I have no intend -- intention of changing. I wasn’t there three years ago,” Romney told Sawyer. “I’m not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women and -- and have no intention of changing that law, don’t think there’s a reason to.”

Had Romney opposed the law, he would have been well within the mainstream of the Republican Party. The Ledbetter Act passed the House of Representatives in a mostly party-line vote, and Romney’s own running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., voted against it.

In an interview Wednesday morning on CBS News, Ryan shed little light on Romney’s original position, but he explained his own.

“Lilly Ledbetter was not an equal pay law. It was about opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t an equal pay law, and of course, we support equal pay.”

Romney did not clarify his original position on the bill at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, and his adviser’s attempt to walk back his statement to reporters indicates the Romney campaign is trying to keep it that way.

But the Obama campaign has other plans.

Campaigning in Athens, Ohio on Wednesday evening, the president brought up the Romney campaign’s changing statements on the Ledbetter Act, saying, “Just today his campaign admitted, well, he’s never weighed in on that. What’s so hard about weighing in on that?  Either you believe in equal pay, or you don’t.”

Obama added, “I weighed in on it because it’s the first bill I signed.”

Notably, equal pay for women has not improved significantly during President Obama’s first term, but the Lilly Ledbetter Act has helped some victims of discrimination pursue their compensation claims in the courts, women’s rights advocates say.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio