Melissa Harris-Perry | November 03, 2012
>>> you're watching a specialed addition of mrp. we're right here at rockefeller center in new york city . this is where we will have our election night coverage. speaking of the election, let's be clear. concern about reproductive rights and access is not a distraction from real issues. women 's health, education aal opportunities, and economic equality are directly related to unfettered safe access to birth control and abortion. in countries where women control their own fertility, they are more educated, less poor, and more likely to be engaged politically. but mitt romney prefer that supreme court kol women 's choices. he would like to see rowe v. wade overturned. president obama , on the other hand, has never waivered in his staunch assertion that women can be trusted to make their own decisio decisions. joining me on my panel here is author of "big girls don't cry." first, i want to bring in my very special guest from oakland, california, democratic senator barbara boxer . senator, it is so good for you to join us this evening. thank you.
>> i'm delighted. just delighted.
>> senator boxer, talk to me a bit about what we saw happen in 2008 on the one hand sort of women showing up in an amazing way as secretary of state clinton has said, putting all of those cracks in the glass ceiling and then rolling back right there in congress by 2010 . what do we do to get our voices back?
>> well, i believe we're going to have our voices back on election day . i really believe that the women are going to break for barack obama . and, you know, it isn't like these issues are hard to follow. we look at the republican platform and what does it say? it says that no abortion, no abortion, you're a criminal if you get an abortion, even in cases of rape and insiscest. the reason i po cuss on rape is how outrageous it is, melissa. it is a crime. it's such a vicious crime in half the states there no limitation. if there's dna found 10, 20 later, you go after the perpetrator. i think women get it. mitt romney didn't lift a finger to change that platform. he said he would be delighted to sign a bill that overturns rowe v. wade. he wants to get rid of planned parenthood . he's standing by richard murdoch who basically says somehow god is involved in a rape.
>> i just think women will come home to the democrats on election day .
>> so, senator boxer, let me ask you this, because the most lasting decision a president makes, the one that follows long after he or she is out of office are those appointments to the supreme court .
>> when we expect given the age of some of our justices that the next president, whether it's a re-elected president obama or, goodness help us, a president romney will get to make at least one, possibly two, nominations to this court. you're in the senate. what can folks in the senate do if you are, in fact, faced with someone who would overturn row v. wade ?
>> let me just say i'm a believer that we're going to win this election. i honestly don't want to go down that path of a romney president si. i can't picture it in my mind. i don't want to.
>> me, neither.
>> i'll tell you the reason why. everything is on the line. if you're an older woman, medicare is on the line, or a man. but mostly women are on medicare. they want to end it as we know it, turn it into a voucher system. imagine an 80-year-old man or woman having to go hunt for insurance with a voucher. this is what they want to do. i want to say something about jobs because i think all of this talk by romney and ann romney about how only thing women care about is the economy. let's say that's true. do you know that under barack obama 's leadership we have seen more private sector jobs created in the past three months than under george w. bush in eight years?
>> and mitt romney wants to take us back. so i can't even envision a romney presidency, but you're absolutely right. the supreme court is critical. everything that, you know, our constitution protects for us is at stake.
>> let me bring in karen here. karen, i know that part of what president obama has done so beautifully is to make this argument that senator boxer is making there, the reproductive rights are economic rights, they are pocket book issues.
>> that's absolutely right. i serve on the board of pro choice america. one of the things i know, the senator knows this, we found out about a year ago and gallup found it as women , ell, in battleground states , high percent sage of women , access to abortion care is higher than the economy, higher than jobs because women understand, again, that if you don't have access to birth control , if you don't have access to abortion care, those are sort of gate issues to other things. that means -- they pacts your ability to work outside the home, to care for your family. and the president has --
>> one of the off-sided statistics is that women who seek abortions typically, or mostly actually already have a child. it's not that they don't know. it's that they do know sort of all the resources necessary.
>> women know how much they pay for their contraception and they know if i have to pay for contraception, that's money not going into my family. women know if we go back to a time when just being a woman is a pre-existing condition, which would happen if we roll back the affordable care act , they know they're going to go back to paying more for their health care . that's money they're not using to help their parents who might be older or their kids who might be in college or just getting by day to day .
>> rebecca, i'm convinced that part of senator boxer was saying, the romneys keep saying, oh, don't think about these other issues. they're saying like, don't vote like a girl. go vote like a man.
>> they are. they're trying to fell minize the issues. that minimizes them. there are all of those double-sided ads you saw a few weeks ago, those things you're hearing about mitt romney and contraception don't worry, we know it's not what you care about anyway, it's not important. why are you cutting a whole ad telling me the message is wrong if they aren't important? of course, part of what we've seen in the republican language, including the extreme stuff, the stuff about todd aiken, the or of scientifically and intellectually stuff, sandra fluke and how much you pay for your birth control is about how much sex you're having, all of this inaccurate stuff that any woman knows has nothing to do with how she lives her life and takes care of herself reflects a profound -- one of the things that has come through this language is a profound lack of thought toward what -- what women 's lives are actually like, not just girl stuff, life stuff. how you take care of yourself. thus, how you take care of your family. how you get your job and go to your job and do your job and earn your money and spend it. they haven't -- that stuff clearly, the basics of female life in this country are not understood or considered by a lot of these guys we've heard talking.
>> or cared about.
>> that's part of why you see the minization of it and in a sense push women from away from it by not being so girly.
>> if there's an agenda item or two agenda items that women should be thinking about as they head to the polls on tuesday, what should those agenda items be?
>> i think the over arching theme that the president talks about so beautifully, are we going to go forward with him or backwards with mitt romney ? and that covers the whole panaplea of issues. the economy, we don't want to go back to the days where we were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the banks count even lend. as a matter of fact, one republican senator said at the time, maybe we have to look at nationalizing the banks. that's how desperate things were then. and if you look at women 's health, you've covered it really beautifully. it's an economic issue. it's a privacy issue. it's a trust issue. it's a respect issue. any issue you look at. it's are we going to go forward or are we going to go back? look at the issue of climate change and all the problems we're seeing now with the obvious storms of great intensity here. it's all on the line. so i say to women and men within the sound of my voice, vote, vote, vote. it's so critical. it's one of the most important elections of my lifetime and yours.
>> thank you, senator boxer. you're right, the president is on the ballot but we are on the line.
>> i greatly appreciate that. senator barbara boxer in california, i appreciate you joining us tonight.
>>> which when we come back we'll talk about what the senator was just queueing up for us there, paycheck and pocket book politics. women , things are changing around here. people