Obama's campaign argues efforts by McCain's campaign to target women will fall flat, given that McCain and Palin both oppose abortion rights, McCain supported President Bush's veto of SCHIP legislation that would have expanded health insurance for low-income children, and he opposed legislation that would have made it easier for women to sue in cases of wage discrimination. Palin opposes abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
"Women voters don't trust McCain because of his extreme positions on the key issues they care about," Dana Singiser, a Clinton adviser, who is now Obama's senior advisor for the women's vote, wrote in August in an Obama campaign memo obtained by ABC News that argues "McCain cannot close the gender gap."
"Women want change from the last eight years of neglect for America's middle class families and women's economic security ... Sen. Barack Obama offers clear support for the challenges facing women and families. As president, he will expand opportunities for working women raising families and help make life affordable for stay-at-home moms. He will stand up for a woman's right to choose and for affordable birth control. He will prioritize economic security for all women by ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work and protecting Social Security," Singiser wrote.
Before Palin joined the ticket, Obama enjoyed a lead over McCain among women, 55 percent to 37 percent, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.
However a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out today finds white women have moved from 50-42 percent in Obama's favor before the conventions to 53-41 percent for McCain now, a 20-point shift in the margin that's one of the single biggest post-convention changes in voter preferences.
Sixty-seven percent view her favorably and 58 percent say her selection makes them more confident in McCain's decision-making. Among those with children, Palin does better yet. And enthusiasm for McCain among his female supporters has soared.
The day Palin delivered her speech at the Republican convention last week, Obama was in Toledo, Ohio, where he hosted an economic town hall meeting with women, arguing he is the candidate who will stand up for women's rights.
"She's opposed, like John McCain is, to equal pay for equal work. That doesn't make much sense to me," Obama said of Palin.
The campaign also released a radio ad highlighting McCain's opposition to abortion and suggesting that he will try to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
"John McCain's out of touch with women today," the Obama ad narrator says. "McCain wants to take away our right to choose. That's what women need to understand. That's how high the stakes are."
Some Obama supporters are reportedly grumbling they would like to see Clinton use her leverage with women supporters to do more campaigning against Palin.
However Clinton remained respectful toward Palin in her comments today in Kissimmee, Fla.
"It is a great accomplishment," Clinton said of Palin's selection as the GOP's first female running mate to a crowd of 500 people. However she said the issues, not the candidates, will decide the election.