Entries in Women (32)


Obama to Stoke ‘War on Women’ Debate in Colorado

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DENVER) -- President Obama kicks off a two-day campaign swing through Colorado on Wednesday by stoking a debate over an alleged Republican war on women.

At his first stop in Denver, Obama will thrust the issue of women’s health care back to the center stage in the presidential race, casting rival Mitt Romney as out of touch with female voters and eager to “turn back the clock on decades of progress,” according to his campaign.

The president will emphasize provisions in his controversial health care law that benefit women, including the requirement that insurance companies cover a host of preventive health care services, such as contraception and breast cancer screenings, free of charge.  Romney has said he would repeal the law and the expanded coverage rules, which took effect for the first time last week.

Obama will get some help making his case from Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law School graduate turned women’s rights activist, who earlier this year was publicly ridiculed by conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh for defending the contraception provisions in the health law.  She will introduce the president, the campaign said.

The joint appearance of Obama and Fluke on stage comes in the midst of an aggressive attack on Romney both online and on TV over his opposition to Planned Parenthood.

In a new Obama campaign TV ad, released Saturday in Colorado and six other battlegrounds, Romney is portrayed as “extreme” for his views and unable to “even understand the mindset of someone who has to go to Planned Parenthood.”

“I think Romney would definitely drag us back,” one woman in the ad says.  Romney has pledged to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide lower-income women with health care services, including contraception and abortion.

A Web video released in conjunction with Obama’s trip to Denver features actress Elizabeth Banks discussing her personal experience with Planned Parenthood and explaining what she believes Romney does not understand about the organization.

“Yes I got birth control, but it was for my massive migraine headaches and my heavy flow.  Yeah, I’m on record saying I had a heavy flow,” Banks says.  “And unfortunately these are not the types of things I want to discuss with my employer… They’re between me and my doctor; and at the time my doctor happened to be with Planned Parenthood.”

But while Obama seeks to make women’s health a focus of the Colorado race, Republicans said they were determined to keep their sights on the economy.

“At the end of the day in Colorado, the selection is going to come down to the economy and whether or not the president fulfilled the mission in regard to jobs, the debt, the deficit,” said Republican Rep. Cory Gardener of Colorado on a conference call Tuesday with reporters.

“The president ran at a time when the people wanted answers on the economy.  He ran on the economy.  He ran on the idea that he would fix the economy and everything has gotten worse so to me, that is what the election is going to come down to in Colorado and states like Colorado and all across America,” he said.

Obama leads Romney among women in the latest national Gallup polling, based on a three-week rolling average, 50 to 42 percent.  Romney holds the edge among men, 49 to 42 percent.

In addition to Denver, Obama will visit Grand Junction, Pueblo and Colorado Springs for events aimed at mobilizing voters in support of his bid for a second term.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Women Get Short Straw for Pay on Capitol Hill

(File Photo) Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Testifying on Capitol Hill as a woman can be tough. But being a woman working for the Republican leadership can also be tough -- on your pocketbook.

Men who work for House Republican leaders -- as chiefs of staff, legislative aides and in other jobs -- earned an average of $68 more per day of work than women in the House GOP leadership, according to 2011 salary data analyzed by the non-partisan Legistorm. That means men earn about $24,000 more per year than women within the House's Republican leadership. The gender pay gap in the Democratic House leadership was about $1,500 yearly.

In the Senate, the gap was even larger. Men working for the Senate GOP leadership earned, on average, $73 more for each day they worked than females in the GOP's Senate leadership, or about $27,000 more per year, according to the analysis, which was first reported by the National Journal. Female staffers in the Democratic Senate leadership earned about $5,000 less than men.

"Nowadays women are as equal as men, they are equally as smart as men and we know in Washington, D.C. they are equally interested in politics, so if you find a gap, it's cause for concern," said Ariane Hegewisch, a study director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Legistorm founder and president Jock Friedly said the data showed that when men and women held the same job title, they made "relatively the same amount." The issue, he said, stems from promotions.

"Many more men were making it into the higher ranks on Capitol Hill, and therefore overall pay for men was much higher than for women," Friedly said.

When taken together, women held fewer senior positions and thus had lower pay. But there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. For example, the highest ranking Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has a female chief of staff.

And for four years the highest ranking person in the House was a woman, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"When I was speaker, I was the highest-paid person on Capitol Hill, and women took great joy in that," Pelosi said at a news conference in May. "But I can't speak to what the Senate -- it's, needless to say, it's another world."

The Senate has never been led by a woman.

Both parties are guilty of this promotion gap, but it is much more prevalent among Republicans, where all male staffers earned about $10,000 more on average than female GOP staffers in both chambers. There are four times as many male chiefs of staff in Republican offices than there are female chiefs of staff. Democratic chiefs of staff are split fairly evenly down gender lines, with 184 men and 135 women.

But while women on Capitol Hill seem to be getting the short straw on pay, they are still doing better in Congress than in their private-sector counterparts. Nationwide, women earn about 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That is a wider gap than on Capitol Hill, where the Legistorm analysis showed women make 86 percent as much as men.

Hegewisch argued Congress does better on than the private-sector on gender pay gaps because of the transparency of Congressional salaries.

Congressional staff salaries are a matter of public record, a fact that Hegewisch said reduces inequalities in bonuses or pay raises. She said the smaller pay gaps in Congress could also be due to the overall lower pay of Congressional staffers.

While CEOs and vice presidents of public companies, only about 16 percent of whom are women, can make millions, the chiefs of staff in Congressional offices earn around $150,000.

"I think very few people deliberately discriminate," Hegewisch said.

But, she said, since every Congressional office sets its own rules for pay structures and promotions, the process is "pretty deregulated, and the more deregulated the process is the more likely you are going to get some kind of discrimination."

"Even our Congress people, that should be fair and above it, they all have different rules and different preferences and then discrimination creeps in," Hegewisch said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Romney Rebounds Among Women, Obama’s Favorability Slips

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty ImagesPOLL ANALYSIS
By GARY LANGER, Langer Research Associates for ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- A sharp advance among women has boosted Mitt Romney to his highest favorability rating of the presidential campaign – albeit still an unusually weak one – while Barack Obama’s personal popularity has slipped in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Obama still beats Romney in favorable ratings overall, by an 11-point margin, 52 vs. 41 percent. But that’s down from 21 points last month, giving Romney the better trajectory. And both get only even divisions among registered voters, marking the closeness of the race between them.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

This survey comes after a period in which Romney’s chief GOP competitors withdrew from the Republican race and lined up behind his candidacy. Romney clinched his party’s nomination in Texas on Tuesday night.

All Romney’s gains have come among women – up by 13 percentage points in personal popularity from last month, while Obama’s lost 7 points among women. (Views among men have been more stable.) Obama’s rating among women, 51 percent favorable, still beats Romney’s 40 percent – but again that margin is far smaller than what it was six weeks ago.

An ABC/Post poll last week found improvement for Romney in vote preferences among married women. This survey finds that his gains in personal favorability, instead, come predominantly among unmarried women, who saw him uncommonly negatively earlier this spring.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that Obama’s ratings among all adults are slightly positive, 52-45 percent favorable-unfavorable, vs. 56-40 percent last month. Romney is numerically underwater (albeit not by a significant margin), 41-45 percent – but up from his 35-47 percent score last month. Forty-one percent favorable is a new high for him, by a scant 2 points from January. It’s his first foray above the 40 percent line.

Romney’s 35 percent favorability in April was the weakest on record for a presumptive presidential nominee in ABC/Post polls in primary seasons since 1984. While he’s since gained 6 points overall, he’s still less popular than most previous eventual nominees at this stage in the presidential campaign. Only one candidate has been this low in comparable data – Bill Clinton in 1992, who went on to win.

Obama’s popularity, meanwhile is the same as George H.W. Bush’s in June 1992, the year Bush lost re-election. On the other hand Obama’s rating is 2 points from Ronald Reagan’s in early 1984 and George W. Bush’s in 2004, both re-election winners.

GROUPS – In addition to women, Romney’s gained 9 points among moderates from a month ago (albeit just to 39 percent favorable, vs. Obama’s 58 percent in this group) and 9 points among Republicans (to 78 percent favorable).

In addition to losing ground among women, Obama’s popularity has dropped by a slight 8 points, to 45 percent, among independents, classically the swing voters in presidential elections. Fifty-two percent of independents see him unfavorably, putting him numerically underwater in this group for the first time since December. Romney is at 40-46 percent favorable-unfavorable among independents, also numerically in negative territory.

Neither candidate manages majority popularity among registered voters. Obama’s slipped to a 49-48 percent favorable-unfavorable rating in this group, after achieving majority favorability among registered voters in three of the past four months. Romney’s at 44-44 percent, up 8 percentage points in favorable ratings among registered voters since March, albeit not quite at a new high; he hit 45 percent, his best to date, in January.

Differences between registered voters and the general public reflect slightly higher voter registration among Republicans.

Finally, while Obama’s clearly had a tougher month than his GOP opponent, he retains bragging rights in one area beyond overall favorability – strength of sentiment. His strong critics and his strong fans are roughly evenly divided, at 31 and 29 percent, respectively. Romney, for his part, is seen more strongly negatively than strongly positively by a 9-point margin, 24 vs. 15 percent. But again, that’s eased from a 17-point gap in March.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone from May 23-27, 2012, among a random national sample of 1,021 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Ribs Republicans, Romney on Women’s Issues

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden Friday told a group of 400 women leaders from the YWCA that Republicans -- and by implication, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney -- are undermining efforts to get more women back to work and close the gender gap.

“Notice how some are bleeding over how women are the most damaged by this godawful recession we’ve been having,” Biden said, making a veiled reference to Romney and the RNC, which have been hammering President Obama for higher net job losses among women during his first term.

“There’s something we can do about it, because guess what? Three quarters of all the teachers who got laid off are women and they have families,” he said, having noted that Obama’s budget blueprint calls for an infusion of cash to states to boost hiring at schools. Republicans oppose the spending measure.

“Because you’re out there every day, you know that women aren’t only concerned about so-called ‘women’s issues.’ You know the economy is a women’s issue. And restoring the middle class is a women’s issue. And I’ve got to tell you, I think this fight has only just begun,” he said.

“The other team is taking on virtually every one of the initiatives you and I and the president fought so hard to establish to give girls and women a better chance to level the playing field. ... The other team in Congress has signed on to a thing called the Ryan Budget, which would either eliminate or eviscerate some of the things we fought for.”

The vice president repeatedly exhorted his audience to help lobby Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a law he originally wrote and sponsored as a U.S. Senator from Delaware in 1994.  The measure -- currently set to expire on Sept. 30 -- has been reauthorized several times with bipartisan support but has become an election-year lightning rod.

A Democratic-sponsored bill extending more than $650 million to programs aimed at preventing crimes against women and boosting investigations of domestic violence cases passed the Senate last week, including support from 15 Republicans.  The GOP-controlled House is writing its own version of the bill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Warns Women: Romney, GOP Will 'Close Doors of Opportunity'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama warned women voters Friday that Republicans in Congress and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney want to “close doors of opportunity we thought we’d kicked open a long time ago.”

“This is a party that prides itself in being rabidly anti-regulation. These are folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference and meddling. But it doesn’t seem to bother them when it comes to women’s health,” Obama told a crowd of 600 Democratic women at a campaign fundraiser in Washington.

The president cited efforts by several Republican state governors and legislatures to enact laws that would restrict access to contraception, redefine personhood or require ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion.

“If you don’t like it, the governor of Pennsylvania said you can ‘close your eyes,’” Obama said of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who has backed a mandatory ultrasound bill.

“It’s appalling.  It’s offensive. It’s out of touch. And when it comes to what’s going on out there, you’re not going to close your eyes,” Obama said. “Women across America aren’t closing their eyes. As long as I’m president, I won’t either.”

The president explained that as a husband and father of two daughters he has a “vested interest” in advancing rights for women, and would fight efforts to “turn back the clock to the 50s or the 40s or the 30s or maybe further than that.”

And though he never mentioned Romney by name, he made clear that his general election rival was in his sights.

“When you talk about how ‘marvelous’ your party’s economic plan is,” Obama said, making a veiled reference to Romney’s characterization of the House GOP budget, “when you break out the numbers what you’re really saying is you want to pass massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and pay for them by gutting programs that among other things support low income women and children.”

“When you say we should ‘get rid of planned parenthood’,” he continued, with another jab at the former governor, “you’re not just talking about restricting a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions, you’re talking about denying the preventive care like cancer screenings that millions of women rely on.”

The fundraiser – Obama’s 126th of his re-election campaign – was hosted by the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum and the Obama Campaign group Women for Obama. General admission tickets started at $1,000 apiece, according to a campaign official.

Republicans sharply criticized Obama ahead of his remarks, accusing him of overseeing a “Hecovery” that has left women on the sidelines in the economy.  

"Women deserve better than what President Obama has delivered,” said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. “And they certainly deserve a president that is honest with them about the challenges they face.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bachmann: Stay-at-Home Moms Understand Economy Better Than Husbands

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann fiercely defended Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms Sunday, blasting Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s criticism that Romney “has never worked a day in her life” as “shocking and insulting.”

Bachmann told NBC’s David Gregory that not only was Ann Romney qualified, as a stay-at-home mom, to advise her husband about the economy, but she may actually have a better understanding of a family’s economic problems than her husband.

“One thing I know is when women are home full-time they have a better pulse on the economy than probably their husband has,” Bachmann said, noting that because those moms are usually the family member that buys groceries and gets gas, they are the first to notice rising prices.

Ann Romney found herself at the center of a heated debate over stay-at-home moms last week when Rosen criticized Mitt Romney for citing his wife as his adviser on the economic issues female voters care about.

“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country and saying ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues,’” Rosen said Wednesday on CNN. “Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that the majority of the women in this country are facing.”

Rosen comments were immediately criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, with the president and the first lady speaking out in support of Ann Romney and stay-at-home moms. Obama, who is currently winning women by a large margin, quickly distanced himself from Rosen, whose remarks gave Republicans one of their first openings to attack the president as being out-of-touch with women, a vital voting bloc in the 2012 election.

The Romney campaign seized on Rosen’s remarks as evidence that Obama did not support non-working mothers, aiming to paint Rosen as a spokeswoman for the president and the Democratic Party. Both the White House and the Democratic National Committee said Rosen did not advise or speak for the administration or the campaign.

Democrats have hounded Republicans for seeking to prevent contraception from being covered under all insurance plans and blasted the party for waging a “war on women” over access to women’s health funding and abortion rights.

“This election is not going to be about Ann Romney or Hilary Rosen’s remarks, it’s going to be about which candidate fights for women,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, said during a back-and-forth with Bachmann on “Meet the Press.” “What’s insulting to women is the Republican Party and that they want bosses to tell women what medication they can take.”

Bachmann, a mother of five, said women across the country were and should be “highly insulted” by Rosen’s comments, but directed the majority of her scorn at the president’s economic policies, which she said have made life worse for women.

The Minnesota congresswoman who dropped out of the GOP primary race in January, said women would be better off with Mitt Romney as president.

“On every measure women’s lives are worse under President Obama than they would be under Mitt Romney as president of the United States,” Bachmann said.

Although the congresswoman had high praise for Romney, who she also said is “an extremely smart guy” and “a proven smart successful businessman,” Bachmann has not yet endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee.

“I’m very seriously looking at the endorsement for Mitt Romney,” Bachmann said Sunday.

She said with Rick Santorum’s exit from the race taking place less than a week ago, she is waiting for the party to “unite” before making any endorsements.

“I want to unite our party so I’m waiting for our party to come together,” Bachmann said on “Meet the Press.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hilary Rosen Cancels "Meet The Press" Appearance

Mark Von Holden/WireImage for MTV Networks(WASHINGTON) -- After a 48-hour maelstrom of criticism from every corner of the political spectrum, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen canceled her scheduled appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press this Sunday, saying she has already “said enough.” The CNN contributor was lambasted Thursday for saying Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife Ann has “never worked a day in her life.”

While Rosen has apologized for the comments, which were interpreted by both Republicans and Democrats as a dig at stay-at-home moms, she said Friday that she will “spend the weekend trying to explain to my kids the value of admitting a mistake and moving on.”

“I have said enough and while I have unfortunately made the producer’s job tougher today, I don’t have anything more to say,” Rosen said in a statement to NBC Friday morning. “I apologized to Mrs. Romney and work-in-home moms for mistakenly giving the impression that I do not think their work is valuable.  Of course it is.”

Rosen also tweeted an apology again Friday morning, writing “I deeply apologize again to work-in-home moms, Mrs Romney & the POTUS. Not going on #MTP this weekend. I’m going to be a mom who stays home.”

Both the first lady and the president spoke out against Rosen’s remarks on Thursday with the president telling ABC affiliate KCRG that families should be off limits in the presidential campaign.

The Romney campaign held a conference call with reporters Thursday painting Rosen’s comments as a message from the White House trying to perpetuate a “war on women.”

Both the White House and the Democratic National Committee refuted the claim that Rosen was working with the administration or the Obama campaign.

Rosen appeared on CNN twice Thursday, first to clarify that her comments Wednesday night were not intended to criticize working mothers, but instead to point out that Ann Romney, as a wealthy mother, was one of a privileged few moms that had the “luxury” of staying home. During her second appearance later in the day Rosen issued a full apology for her “poorly chosen” words.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney on Offense on ‘War on Women’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- The Mitt Romney campaign is going on the offense addressing a perceived gender gap, filing in groups of women at his events, repeating again and again their argument that more than 92 percent of jobs lost under the Obama administration were held by women, and now sending a barrage of statements from female politicians disparaging the president’s economic policies.

“I was disappointed in listening to the president as he’s saying, ‘Oh Republicans are waging a war on women,’” Romney said on Wednesday, speaking at Alpha Graphics, a female-run business in downtown Hartford, Conn.  “The real war on women is being waged by the president’s failed economic policies.”

Romney, who on Tuesday also spoke at a female-run construction firm in Delaware and also met with female business leaders privately before both events, then took one of the signs that his staff had handed out before his event began that features a graphic of jobs lost under the Obama administration and spoke about the numbers.

“This is an amazing statistic -- the percentage of jobs lost by women in the president’s three, three and a half years -- 92.3 percent of all the jobs lost during the Obama years have been lost by women,” said Romney.  “92.3 percent!  Now the president says, ‘Oh I didn’t cause this recession’ -- that’s true.  He just made it worst and made it last longer and because it lasted longer, more and more women lost jobs.  Such that in his three and a half years, 92.3 percent of the people who have lost jobs have been women.”

“His failures have hurt women,” Romney said of Obama.

The Romney campaign has backed up their claim by providing employment statistics between January 2009, when Obama first took office, and March 2012, but Democrats and the Obama administration have pounced, saying that the numbers the campaign is using, while not inaccurate, do not reflect the full context of the situation when Obama took office.

But both the Obama campaign and the nonpartisan fact-check site Politifact have taken issue with Romney’s figures.  Politifact also rated the Romney campaign’s claim and the 92 percent figure as “mostly false.”  The site suggested job losses were split between both the Bush and Obama presidencies.  Men suffered more job losses at the outset of the recession when President Bush was in office.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning website has since said it will review the rating after receiving a letter from Lanhee Chen, Romney’s policy director, on Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney Fights Back: Debuts on Twitter to Counter DNC Adviser’s Insult

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(PROVIDENCE, R.I) -- Ann Romney’s debut on Twitter couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Ann’s first tweet came just moments after Democratic strategist and DNC adviser Hilary Rosen lobbed an insult at Ann Romney, suggesting that the 64-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 16 had never held a job.

“Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” said Rosen, who was being interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the “war on women.”

And then, just like that, a familiar name popped up on Twitter: @AnnDRomney.

“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” Ann tweeted.

The Romney campaign confirmed to ABC News that the account belongs to Ann Romney.

The tweet came just as husband Mitt wrapped up a second day of campaigning that all but entirely focused on the “war against women,” packing events with female business leaders and accusing the Obama administration’s economic policies of hurting women.

“I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a tweet.

Top Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod also tweeted his disapproval: “Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.”

Following the interview, Rosen herself tweeted, “I’ve nothing against @AnnRomney. I just don’t want Mitt using her as an expert on women struggling $ to support their family. She isn’t.”

Rosen kept tweeting, not appearing to back off of her comments.

“@AnnDRomney Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn’t say you are his expert on women and the economy,” said Rosen.

Then Rosen offered a welcome message to Ann, tweeting, “oh and @AnnDRomney welcome to Twitter. You will find it a very exhilarating and often unforgiving place!”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


War Over Women Comes to White House

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In the thick of a battle over women, the White House is seizing on the Republican Party's struggle to woo female voters by inviting scores of them to Washington to tell the administration what they want.

The White House's overture included President Obama himself, who told his female supporters Friday that they mean more to him than just some "monolithic" interest group; Attorney General Eric Holder, who empathized with women who are working to help victims of domestic violence; health secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who talked to women about health care; and a host of female advisers like Valerie Jarrett and Cecilia Munoz who promised that the administration has their back.

But it was Republicans who struck first in the morning, as the monthly employment report showed that 120,000 jobs were added in March, fewer than expected. Sharon Day, a co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tied the number to women's issues explicitly.

"The number of employed women declined last month and the number who have dropped out of the labor force increased," she said in a statement. "For far too long women have been left behind in Obama's job market. Of the 740,000 jobs lost since Obama took office, 683,000 of them were held by women. That is truly unsustainable. President Obama and his fellow Democrats love to say they stand for women, but women can no longer stand the Obama economy."

The so-called war on women has plagued Republicans since the primary spun into the orbit of Sandra Fluke, birth control and abortion, distracting from the all-important issue of the economy. As the fight has been prolonged, it has devolved into the seemingly trivial. The latest involves Democrats accusing the RNC chairman of comparing women with caterpillars; John Boehner's office not saying whether the House speaker thinks women should be allowed into the Augusta golf club; and GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, speaking about reproductive rights, telling a Chamber of Commerce crowd in Alaska that "it makes no sense to make this attack on women."

In a much-publicized event at the White House Obama joined the fray. As women from around the country crowded into an auditorium to hear Obama speak, the president told them that they don't amount to some political "interest group" and that "you shouldn't be treated that way."

He then pandered to them by reminding them that he signed into law a bill that works to help women get paid as much as men do for the same jobs, and that he appointed two women to the Supreme Court. He told them that if more women were in Congress, the legislature would be more productive.

As he walked off to a standing ovation, the crowd at the officially nonpolitical event chanted "four more years!"

Cristina Afaro, a communications worker for McDonald's in Chicago who came to Washington to hear Obama and learn about his outreach to women, watched at the end of the White House session Friday as Jarrett and Munoz spoke about legislation that would help women earn more money and about seeking an agenda for "the country" rather than for women separately.

She nodded throughout and applauded at the end, noting that many minority groups "have had unprecedented access" to the administration.

"People feel like they're being heard," she said. "It does make a difference."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio