Obama, McCain Camps Fight for Women Voters

With 57 days left until Election Day, the campaigns of both Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are sprinting through key battleground states this week, vying for women voters who widely supported Sen. Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

Clinton -- who won 54 percent of women voters in the primaries -- campaigned for Obama today in Florida, a key battleground state.

The Obama campaign plans to send Democratic women governors and senators, such as Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, to other battleground states.

Obama held a campaign rally on the economy in Flint, Mich., while Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden toured Wisconsin and Iowa.

McCain and his vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, campaigned today in suburban Kansas City, Mo., where 5,000 people showed up at a campaign rally to see the running mates -- 3,000 more than could fit inside the hall where the event was held.

McCain is keeping Palin with him on the campaign trail for the first part of this week, clearly enjoying the larger-than-usual crowds energized by Palin's conservative credentials and fiery speech at the Republican convention last week.

With Palin's pick, the McCain campaign is hoping to peel away independents and women voters who identify with her "hockey mom" appeal.

Both the Obama and McCain campaigns argue they have been targeting women voters since the beginning.

However, the McCain campaign says Palin's pick has given a "shot in the arm" to their effort to recruit women volunteers -- doubling their "Women for McCain" grassroots volunteer lists since her acceptance speech.

"She's a daring and exciting pick that has really rejuvenated support and respect for Sen. McCain," McCain spokeswoman Crystal Benton said. "When she said she'd 'stand up to the ol' boys network in Washington,' that really inspired a lot of women."

Now, the McCain campaign will begin holding "Mondays for McCain," when women surrogates and women volunteers in battleground states call women voters, urging them to support McCain.

Who Will Women Vote For?

"As NFL season picks up and their husbands are watching "Monday Night Football," we thought it would be a good time to reach out to women," Benton said.

The Obama campaign argued they haven't stepped up their women's outreach efforts in light of Palin's appearance on the GOP ticket.

"Women have been a big focus since the beginning of the campaign. We're very fortunate that leaders like Hillary Clinton are out on the trail for Sen. Obama on a daily basis. They're going to continue to lay out the basic choice in this race, and remind voters that, on the issues women care about, John McCain isn't standing with them ... he's standing with George Bush," Obama spokeswoman Moira Mack said.

Obama's wife Michelle has held numerous roundtable discussions with military wives, and hosts a roundtable discussion with working women in Indiana Wednesday focusing on the economy.

"Mrs. Obama will meet with women in Fishers, Indiana to hear about their stories juggling their work and family responsibilities amidst a struggling economy. At this event, she will share with them the Obama-Biden plans to strengthen working women and their families, and prosper in a challenging economy," reads a press release sent to reporters Monday by the Obama campaign.

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