HAMMERING MCCAIN ON WOMEN’S ISSUES…. The Obama campaign is taking on John McCain on women’s issues on multiple fronts. We talked the other day about Obama breaking with recent tradition and going after McCain’s opposition to reproductive rights, an issue Democratic candidates have usually shied away from.
The Obama campaign is also putting pay equality front and center, launching a new ad with someone who has as much credibility on the subject as anyone: Lilly Ledbetter.
Ledbetter, of course, is an Alabama woman who worked for Goodyear and faced years of wage discrimination based on gender. The Supreme Court ultimately took Goodyear’s side, saying Ledbetter should have filed her suit within 180 days of the initial discrimination. (In other words, if your employer is paying you less money for equal work, and you don’t find about the discrepancy until seven months after the problem began, you can’t contest this in court.) McCain inexplicably endorsed the ruling as the right call.
In the new ad, Ledbetter tells voters, “I worked at this plant for 20 years before I learned the truth. I’d been paid 40% less than men doing the same work. John McCain opposed a law to give women equal pay for equal work. And he dismissed the wage gap, saying women just need ‘education and training.’ I had the same skills as the men at my plant. My family needed that money. On the economy, it’s John McCain who needs an education.”
This is, regular readers may recall, the second Obama campaign ad targeting McCain on pay equity for women.
The “education and training” line really was one of the dumbest things McCain has said over the course of this campaign. He genuinely seems to believe that employers who discriminate against women will stop if women have better credentials. It’s just a bizarre worldview, and the Obama campaign is smart to hammer this point home.