ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Politico.com today raises a provocative — and seemingly perennial — question: Do Republicans have a "women problem"?
The answer, according to Leslie Sanchez, a GOP analyst and strategist who's written a new book about women in politics, the answer is an emphatic no.
"I think there's a problem with a lot of traditional feminists who'd like to think that Republicans have a problem with women," Sanchez told us on ABCNews.com's "Top Line" today. "The reality is that women have changed. They're looking at pocketbook issues. They're looking at issues like the economy, health care. A great example of this is the Virginia election with Bob McDonnell. He … had tremendous support from women even despite the thesis issue and all of this that people thought he was a Neanderthal with respect to women moving forward. He proved he wasn't. And I think women are very diverse that way — that's what's interesting about it."
Sanchez's book, which focuses particular attention on some of the women who rose to political prominence in the 2008 presidential campaign, is called "You've Come a Long Way, Maybe: Sarah, Michelle, Hillary, and the Shaping of the New American Woman."
Sanchez said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential run and service in the Obama Cabinet may make it easier for female politicians from both parties to seek higher office in the future.
"People are used to the idea of women leaders," she said. "Look at the high approval ratings you have now of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's not as polarizing, she's very pro-America, she's a bit hawkish on some foreign policy issues. They earn their stripes, and they have a much better potential. But still there's a lot of people who just are going to make gender an issue."
No discussion of Republican women in politics would be complete without mentioning former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska. Few figures of either party or either gender have a similar ability to focus attention on a candidate or an issue, Sanchez said.
"A lot of people would like to discount Sarah Palin — you know, she doesn't have the substance, the credibility. What's fascinating, if you watch what she's been able to do after she stepped aside from governor — she's been able to shed a light on conservative issues, conservative candidates. You saw that in New York-23 [the special election where Palin endorsed the Conservative Party candidate], you see that on the death panel issue, which, to her credit the president had to address that in his address to Congress."
Does that mean Palin for president in 2012? "I never discount the possibility of her saying she will," Sanchez said.
Watch the full interview with Leslie Sanchez HERE.