The Daily Rundown | March 15, 2012
>>> for two decades since the first big year of the woman ushered in 24 new women in the u.s. house , tripled the number of women that serve in the united states senate . this year, democrats are seizing on issues that they believe republicans have brought to the forefront. from birth control to women 's preventive health care , and now democratic women are accusing the republicans of a proverbial war on women . check out this new online ad that's making the rounds.
>> it's an assault on women 's health and freedom. and republican candidates for the u.s. senate all across the country are pushing extreme legislation that threatens health care for women . it's time to end the culture wars and get to work for the middle class . time to elect more women to the u.s. senate .
>> former arkansas senator blanche lincoln was first elected to the house in 1992 . that year's year of the woman four years later became a u.s. senator . she joins me now. senator lincoln, nice to see you.
>> thanks, chuck. glad to be with yo uh.
>> when i look at the -- first, we're going to take this total political map . look at the map here. and when it comes to the road to control for the united states senate for the democrats, if they keep control, it's going to be because they elect more women to the u.s. senate . here are the number of women running for reelection starting with dianne feinstein , debbie stabenow , and look at the women candidates that may end up the democratic nominees in wisconsin. tammy baldwin , shelly berkeley , elizabeth warren in massachusetts. there was some talk of recruiting shelly pingry in maine, that didn't happen. it does seem clear to me that democrats realize this is their road to stay in control.
>> well, democrats realize it, but women realize how important it is. and i think with as many polarized candidates and polarized issues in people that are out there in this campaign season, women tend to buck that trend. they are more fair-minded, they are even tempered and that's what people need to realize in washington that folks are willing to buckle down and get work done.
>> as a woman candidate running in the early '90s and, you know, i'd say almost a full generation ago. what were the obstacles in the south that you face that you think women now are not facing.
>> well, i think regionally it is different as a woman. but i also think that back when i ran first and started my campaign in 1991 , i was a young, single woman . and there were multiple challenges there. not only being a woman, but my age was as much of an issue as my gender. you know, people's curiosity about me. well, you know, here i am at almost 30, why am i not married? why am i not starting a family? what's my interest here? you know, just a real curiosity about why a young woman would want to run for office and fight hard for the things that she feels like are important to her state and to her congressional district . so there was a lot of curiosity out there back then.
>> it's interesting, in '92, one of the linchpins, if you will, that motivated a lot of people to run for the u.s. senate that year in particular, i'm thinking patty murray , barbara boxer , and dianne feinstein that year that california had their senate seats up were the clarence thomas hearings. and there was this polarizing effect. gender -- a major gender gap there where there was a lot of anger among women in the democratic party that democratic men put were the deciding votes to get clarence thomas confirmed. this year, do you see a similar thing in this conversation we're having about birth control as having that kind of motivating factor to get women candidates over the top ?
>> well, i think that is one of those issues, but i think it's most important. look at education. look at just the, you know, job creation , the issues that are really critical. i think most women , voters as well as candidates, you know, see the issue of women 's health as an issue to deal with. but it's not the only issue. i think that controversy really for them really is who is really debating this issue and where is a woman's perspective? it's not that women know more or that they're smarter, it's just that their perspective is critically needed. and when you've got a panel of five men, you know, in a congressional hearing , that's not getting a woman's perspective. but women 's perspective on everything from small businesses and job creation , you know, to education, to energy, and so many other things. women do a lot of the details out there. and i think what they do in their homes and in their jobs really has a lot to offer in moving this country forward. and i think that's what women out there want to hear about. and that's why they're glad to see women candidates. we're also losing some great women senators, kay bailey hutchinson and olympia snowe . so there's a real need to have that perspective. it's not differebetter, it's different.
>> somehow the united states senate is out of whack as far as population is concerned. good to talk to you. thanks very much.