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US polls: candidates vie for women voters

The Hofstra University debate didn’t end Tuesday night. It continued Wednesday with the candidates taking their battle straight to voters, specially women voters. Yashwant Raj reports.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2012 00:40 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj

The Hofstra University debate didn’t end Tuesday night. It continued Wednesday with the candidates taking their battle straight to voters, specially women voters.

Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment, used by him at the debate to explain his support for equal opportunities for women, bounced around from one campaign to another.

“I don’t know if you were listening last night, but, see, we don’t have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women,” President Barack Obama said at a rally.

It has also gone viral on internet — starting within nanoseconds on Twitter, where it was trending within minutes. It has also since become the top anti-Romney barb on TV.

The battle, of course, goes beyond Romney’s unfortunate use of the phrase. It’s about women voters, who were earlier thought Obama’s, but are suddenly in play. Polls show Romney has either caught up with Obama among women voters in the battleground states such as Florida, Virginia and Ohio or he is close behind.

The president wore a pink breast cancer awareness bracelet while campaigning in Ohio on Tuesday, and made a strong pitch for women votes, carrying over from the previous night.

“I’ve got two daughters,” said Obama at a rally in Ohio. “I don’t want them paid less than a man for doing the same job ... (and) you (men) don’t want your wives paid less.”

The president attacked Romney for not supporting a law — Obama’s first legislative act as president — making it illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same job.

Romney has not clearly stated his position on this issue yet. And he has also dithered on his stand on contraception — whether it should be covered by health insurance.

And on abortion. He was once a supporter. But then changed his stand — mostly to suit the Republican Party’s pro-life base. And now he is for selective abortion, in case of rape and incest.

The Romney campaign is running an ad this week saying the candidate is not opposed to contraception and he favours abortion in selective case.

They are also hitting back.

“President Obama’s failed economic policies have left women with fewer jobs, higher poverty, and diminishing opportunities for the next generation,” said spokesperson Andrea Saul.

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