The women’s vote is going to be critical in 2012. We all keep hearing that. And nowhere is that vote going to be more critical than in swing states like Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio. We keep hearing that too. But here’s a question for you: is a famous actress the best way to win undecided female voters?
On Sunday actress Eva Longoria, a national co-chair for the Obama campaign, was the star speaker at the “Women Vote 2012” summit in Denver. The event, which also featured Democratic strategist and Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett and several elected female officials, kicked off a series of summits the campaign will hold this summer.
I wasn’t there, but here’s what Kate Chapek, Obama’s national Women’s Vote Director, told me in a phone interview before the event: "Having worked with women all over the country for years, it’s an amazing place to start off, to let women know they’re opinion leaders in their communities. That's how these summits came about: Let's have a big conversation with as many women as possible."
As for Longoria: "She is a true volunteer who has been fantastic, and really wants to be involved and talk about these issues. These are issues that matter to her and her family."
Obama is leading Romney in the women’s vote. But the campaign isn’t taking anything for granted. So they also hope to drum up new supporters and to re-energize old ones. “It’s good old-fashioned organizing, organizing on the ground, organizing with women who are our supporters, to bring their friends and family who want to know more about the campaign,” said Chapek.
In Denver, 400 women turned out in a recreation center to hear Longoria speak about the policies the president has championed to support women.
Part of her role was cheerleader, but also to hammer the stark difference on women’s issues between the candidates. “I don’t think it’s a hard choice if you’re a woman,” she told the crowd. “We have to get out there and tell (others), ‘If you’re a woman, there is no way you can vote Republican.'”
I happen to like Eva Longoria, though I can’t say I was ever a fan of Desperate Housewives, and I could never figure out her marriage to NBA star and philanderer Tony Parker. But I do think she’s smart, well-informed and sincere. And she’s obviously a big draw for the Latino vote, which is also going to be key in November.
But calling her a “volunteer” and painting her as just a mom who copes with the same work and family conflicts as you do seems a stretch. This is the state, after all, that gave us Focus on the Family and the Christian right, and that delivered George W. Bush. Twice.
As the Denver Post story noted:
Standing outside the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center where the summit was held were a handful of women….The Mitt Romney supporters waved “Women for Mitt” and other signs. Among them was Monica Owens, who said the group got some thumb downs and some honks from passersby in Jefferson County – a key swing county.
The responses to the story were also revealing:
So the 'hollow-wood' types are traveling to Colorado to spread the Obama lies? That says alot and this is going to be an intereted election indeed. Nasty and cutthroat...but interesting
I am a woman who did not and will not vote for Obama. My sister (who is a career welfare mother), did and will vote for Obama. I have always worked, paid my own way and did not have illegitimate kids. This is the glaring difference between Republican and Democrats. I AM A WOMAN WHO WILL VOTE FOR ROMNEY.
Another goal of the summits is to educate women about how the president’s policies have benefited women and their families. All I can say is it’s about time. The campaign hasn't exactly excelled in spelling that out. On the recently affirmed Affordable Care Act, for instance, now commonly accepted as "Obamacare" even by Democrats, most women didn’t have a clue as to how it benefited them, or that they pay more for health care coverage than men, or that they'll no longer have a co-pay for birth control, or that they can continue to see their own doctors. I can only hope they'll understand this now.
But here's what Clo Ewing, a spokewoman for Obama who’s involved in the summits, said: “We hope to use this as an opportunity to really communicate with those women who do need more information, to talk about what the president has done, and his commitment to women and their families, and of course to let them know that, from pledging to repeal Obamacare, pledging to get rid of Planned Parenthood and to not being clear on where he stands on something as simple as paycheck fairness, Mitt Romney is on the wrong side of issues important to women and their families."
On that I couldn’t agree more.
Credit Image: © Panoramic/ZUMAPRESS.com/
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