For all the recent talk about contraception, Planned Parenthood, country club memberships and even caterpillars, President Obama centered his pitch to women Friday on the one thing that may make the biggest difference in their voting decisions this year -- the economy. It is why he summoned women to the White House and why he called the gathering the White House Forum on Women and the Economy.
But beyond the economy, Friday's forum also underscored one huge advantage Obama enjoys over Republican Mitt Romeny with women. "This is personal," said the president after movingly talking about his mother, wife, and daughters. In contrast, Romney has struggled to show empathy on women's issues. His favorite rejoinder, offered earlier this week when he spoke to newspaper publishers, is to cite his wife. "She reports to me" on women's concerns, he said.
But Obama will need more than an "empathy gap" to win back those women who defected in 2010. He will need solid results. And the latest job numbers show that he has a way to go. Women's unemployment has proven more stubborn than men's. The unemployment rate for women over age 20 was 7.4 percent in March, little changed from 7.8 percent a year earlier. In contrast, joblessness for men of the same age improved more dramatically, dropping to 7.6 percent from last year's 8.7 percent. In a briefing for reporters Friday, Jan Eberly, the assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy, acknowledged that "this is of some concern" because women play such a big role in the economy, according to National Journal's Catherine Hollander, who attended the briefing. It is of even more concern to the president's reelection team. Read more
--National Journal's George Condon
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Campaigns Gird for Battlegrounds
[Wall Street Journal, 4/7/12] The general election campaign seems to have started already, with Romney the all-but-certain nominee. Both are expected to battle it out state-by-state for a win that could be hard-fought this fall, and potentially based on a handful of wins in swing states.
Is Mitt Romney Damaged Goods After a Brutal Primary Season?
[The Daily Beast, 4/8/12] With his disapproval rating hitting a record high last month, it seems that the primary campaign season has done more harm than good for Romney. But he's better off than Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992 were, and the race isn't over yet.
Experts: Mitt Won’t Have to Pick Woman
[Boston Herald, 4/7/12] Even though Romney has a clear disadvantage with female voters, GOP experts say he won't have to choose a female running mate to shore up the support of that demographic. Instead, he'll need to find an exciting running mate that will spur GOP supporters across the board to turn out on election day.
Mitt Romney Losing Popularity During the Long Road to Nomination
[Detroit Free Press, 4/8/12] Though he wins primary states, the races he runs in each tend to hurt his standing with voters there, as poll after poll show his favorability declining following election day. This could spell bad news for Mitt Romney, especially as the primary season looks likely to drag on for months more.
Fund-Raising Game Upended in 2012 Race
[Boston Globe, 4/8/12] The rise of super PACs has brought increased dependence on contributions from wealthy Americans, corporations, and unions, rather than small donations from public citizens. Though Republicans have an advantage with these big-check backers, Democrats have thus far had to shell out far less during their campaigns nationwide.
Why Are Republicans Still Turning Out To Rally For Newt Gingrich?
[National Journal, 4/6/12] Although Gingrich's star has already faded and it seems clear he won't nab the nomination, he's still drawing crowds. Why? Supporters say they like his message.
GOP Superdelegates: It's Over, Romney is Nominee
[Associated Press, 4/7/12] Republican National Committee members who will definitely attend the convention this summer already think they know who's going to be the nominee: Mitt Romney.
Isn't it "Marvelous?" Obama Seeks to Define Romney for Voters
[Reuters, 4/7/12] Obama is already trying to frame his likely opponent as out-of-touch and awkward on the campaign trail, tying him not only to politically-controversial policies like Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, but also to Romney's unusual word choices and gaffes.
Santorum Cancels Monday Events to Stay With Daughter Bella
[National Journal, 4/8/12] Bella Santorum has been hospitalized for the second time during the primary campaign season, and again her father is taking time off from running to spend with her.
Santorum Moves Fuel Predictions He Will Exit
[Boston Globe, 4/7/12] Santorum canceled events through Monday due to his daughter Bella's poor health, but Pennsylvania Republicans see this as a sign he'll drop out before the race in their state -- in part, to save face in a state he's looking increasingly likely to lose.
Porn Stars Upset by Santorum Comments Take Action
[ABC, 4/7/12] A group of porn stars teamed up with a comedic video site to produce "Porn Stars Against Santorum," a satirical take on Santorum's position on banning porn.
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