Jansing and Co | March 12, 2012
>>> why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. they want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and our own bodies. yes, it is hard to believe, but even here at home we have to stand up for women 's rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us.
>> secretary of state hillary clinton making that rare foray into the raging political debate over women 's health with increasing signs that republicans have been taking a hit over all of us. the obama campaign today is sending out a million mailings to women in more than a dozen battleground states . three separate versions targeting mothers, young women and older women . msnbc's richard luis has been looking into this and that vote will be pivotal in november.
>> no single voting bloc is more important than women . just look at the number right here. 70 million voted in 2008 . the next largest group was men, but that was 10 million less. while more of the group does lean democrat, the key independent women vote is in flux. let me show you evidence from the washington post here. in 2010 independent women voters favored the gop by 11% when it came to sharing personal values. then we had debates over susan g. komen , rush limbaugh and contraception coverage. that seesaw swung in double digits the other way. independent voters now trailing democrats by five points. women overall, house republicans led in 2010 getting 51% of women votes, but 2012 our poll shows democrats winning women for house races 51% to 36% right now. republicans are pivoting on the calls of cultural war by discussing jobs and the economy for women .
>> women care about the economy, they care about their children, and they care about the debt and they are angry and furious about the entitlement debt we are leaving our children.
>> we are hitting similar themes is the president's campaign site, women for obama . the president also will give the commencement at the all women college barnard. they hope the recent women war on debates will lead to wins for 11 democratic women senators. the president here wants to build on the percent of women he got back in '08. it was a big number then. and back then the obama campaign caps off march with a women 's week of action, phone banks, campus and media events getting the full force of the juggernaut.
>> thank you so much. joining me now is msnbc policy analyst and president for the center of american progress who served as the senior adviser to help the obama administration pass the health care law , good to see you both. let me start with you, i think one of the most fascinating aspects i have seen in all of this, i have richard leaving it out because i want it, but until six weeks ago democrats suffered from the intensity gap, but women are closing it. what do you think has been the real impact of this whole fight over contraception in women 's rights?
>> oh, i think that the most significant issue is that women see that the republican party is willing to put politics and people like rush limbaugh ahead of their own interests. you see this when mitt romney puts forward a very weak statement about rush limbaugh saying those aren't the words he would use. what are the words he would use to describe sandra fluke in the gross and horrible terms? i think the real issue is that you have seen the intense partisan nature of this debate really reflecting badly on the gop and they have been willing to put this face forward, rush limbaugh , on the issue has meant that women have woken up and recognized basic health protections that the republican party stands against them.
>> the republican party response is not a huge concern, the real women 's issue in the campaign is the economy, we just heard ann romney talking about the cost of milk and gas. a new washington post poll shows gas prices are hurting the president. what do you think, ez za, ezra , are the cultural wars creating something more significant long term?
>> first, i like neera's coining of rush law for rush limbaugh . we have seven to eight months until the election and will this issue decline quickly or will people forget about it in six months? will people be thinking back to march and thinking, man, rush limbaugh said something terrible and mitt romney didn't stand up for it. on things like that i'm skeptical, but what this does do and is creating a problem for mitt romney right now is exposing an unhelpful tension for him right now in the republican party . mitch daniels , the governor of indiana , proposed a social issues truce while the economy was in such pain and he got torn apart by social conservatives for it. so on the other side the social conservatives who want the argument who like rick santorum want to go around the country to explain why birth control is a big problem. the obama campaign is looking for ways to force mitt romney to navigate the tension or whether republicans can shun this thing to the side until after the election.
>> which is their hope, but in the meantime you have the president's campaign putting out a million flyers in key battleground states . nurses for obama , women 's week of action at the end of the month, how do you think this is going to work, neera, and does it pivot because of the political atmosphere right now?
>> let me take on something ezra said, i came in during the clarence thomas hearings, they happened a year before the election. a full year before the election. and they really motivated women . and the difference we had that year was that we had a number of senate candidates running and this is similarly a break through number of women senate candidates running. there's a real potential to keep this going. and i think the challenge for republicans is that women will remember these kinds of flash points, the susan komen issue, this issue, rush limbaugh , it's a series of ways in which the republican party has sinked to the other side. that's why the president is right to capitalize on it or the president's campaign is capitalizing on this while it is fresh in people's memory while sending out the flyers ensuring people understand as we go through the second anniversary of the affordable care act , that the affordable care act has incredible benefits for women . it ensures pre-existing conditions and the whole idea that women can be treated separately has been addressed in the affordable care act as the gop tries to polarize the issue.
>> the obama campaign was planning to wrap up the outreach to women to coincide with this health care law two years ago next week, so what do you think, ezra , do you think this is something we'll continue to hear the obama administration keeping alive? to your point it is sometimes difficult to say six months out what's going to turn a campaign, well, it is always difficult to say six months out what's going to turn a campaign.
>> look, i think they will give it a shot. for the health care act, in particular, what's going to have a lot to do with whether or not what the conversation looks like will be the supreme court rulings. we are moving into oral arguments and should get a ruling in june. depending on what happens there, the conversation over the health care law could be any number of incredibly intense ways. one other point to make here is another group of voters strong on this, you look at the polls, is young voters. a lot of what we are talking about, birth control , the way rush limbaugh went after women , the idea that birth control is not a settled issue. that a student in this would not be acted upon is astonishing. much of the obama campaign needs to activate as much in '08 if they want to win again.