The Note: Year Of The Woman?

Oct 21, 2010 8:58am


NEW TALKING POINT. The Obama administration unveiled a 33-page report today from the White House’s National Economic Council called “Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women.” The purpose, according to the report itself, is to show that the administration “has implemented and proposed policies that form a comprehensive plan to support women at all stages of their careers.” In a conference call previewing the report Wednesday presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett told reporters: “Economic issues are women’s issues. Women and girls have been a focus of this administration from the very start.” According to ABC’s Sunlen Miller, Jarrett denied that the timing of the report is political. “We’re not going to let the fact that there’s an election coming up get in the way  of announcing something that will be very important to women,“ she said.  “This is one step of a series of steps we have taken to put the spotlight on women in the workplace.” Miller notes: “The report claims that 74 million women benefited from the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, and most recent Small Business Administration loans have gone to women owned enterprises.” Read it here:

But it’s no secret why the White House is courting women just over a week before the Nov. 2 elections. Our own ABC poll showed that among likely voters, women gave Democrats just a 3 percentage point edge — 47 to 44 percent. As Democratic pollster Margie Omero put it in an article last week on the Huffington Post headlined “Mind The (Gender) Gap: How Women Can Stave Off Big Democratic Losses”: “When women give Democrats a double-digit margin in exit polls, Democrats win the majority of House seats. When women don't, Democrats don't.”

TRAIL MIX. President Obama is in Seattle, Washington this morning where he will hold an event tied to the new White House report on women and the economy. After that, the president will headline a rally for Sen. Patty Murray at the University of Washington. Murray is in a tight race for re-election against Republican Dino Rossi. This afternoon, the president heads to San Francisco where he will attend two fundraising events, one for state attorney general candidate Kamala Harris followed by a DNC dinner at a private residence in Palo Alto, Calif.

On the campaign trail in Oregon on Wednesday, president Obama stumped for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber, who's looking to get his old job back. “You need him again, you need him one more time,” Obama said last night in Portland. “This should not be a difficult choice. I know you have a race where both candidates are talking about change,” Obama said, referring to Kitzhaber’s Republican opponent and former NBA basketball player, Chris Dudley. “But there’s only one candidate who has delivered change. And that’s John Kitzhaber. You know John’s track record.”

DELAWARE’S EARLY HALLOWEEN. In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell sounded bullish about her prospects against Democrat Chris Coons: "The reason why I think we surprised so many people in the primaries is the same reason we're going to surprise people in the general," she told ABC News. "When you do the polls, first time voters don't show up. New voters don't show up." O’Donnell said her campaign would continue to target voters with a direct mail operation and with television ads, but she acknowledge that her now-famous “I’m You” ad in which she told viewers, “I am not a witch,” did not have the desired affect. "I haven't publically stated this,” O’Donnell told Karl, “and I don't know if I'll get in trouble for saying it, but our intention was to kill it, and that's not what happened. More from Karl’s report: “O'Donnell says she will be out and up with new ads with a different tone. And as October draws to a close and November 2 approaches, there is one thing you can be sure you won't see Christine O'Donnell dressed up as for Halloween. ‘Everybody wants to know what I'm going to be for Halloween’  she told ABC News. ‘I can tell you I certainly am not going to be a witch.’ … ‘I was thinking about just going as Dorothy,’ she said. ‘I killed the witch. There you go.’”

MOMENTUM IN PA. A new Quinnipiac University poll out today gives Republican Pat Toomey the edge over Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in the U.S. Senate contest in Pennsylvania, but not by much. According to Quinnipiac, the race is “now a statistical dead heat” with Toomey drawing support from 48 percent of likely voters compared to 46 percent for Sestak. That’s a big change from a Sept. 22 survey that had Toomey up 50 to 43 percent. "Pennsylvania is a blue state and Democrats there have begun to come home," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute. "They are more engaged than they were earlier in the race. This is not unusual, especially in off-year elections. Democrats often engage later in the campaign than do Republicans.” A Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released on Wednesday gave Sestak a 3 percentage point edge over Toomey, 44 percent to 41 percent with 15 percent of voters undecided. At least one other poll this week also showed Sestak with a narrow edge after trailing Toomey for months in almost every public opinion survey.

The two candidates met for their first televised debate of the general election Wednesday night and they each tried to portray the other as more extreme and out of touch with the state’s voters. Sestak did his best to tie Toomey to political figures like Sarah Palin and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who he argued were on the “extreme fringe” of the Republican Party. He noted that Palin endorsed Toomey this week, calling the former Alaska governor’s seal of approval a “very coveted award.” Toomey used the same strategy against his Democratic opponent. “The person who’s the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak,” Toomey said. The debate took a number of nasty turns. At one point Sestak said that his opponent, “sounds like my parrot at home — again and again, offering no solutions.” And during a lengthy exchange about Social Security, Toomey lashed out at Sestak: “Joe’s demagoguery knows no limits, apparently.”

ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Rick Klein interviews Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Tex., the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Also on the program: more from Jonathan Karl’s exclusive interview with Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

Check out ABC’s updated House, Senate and governor’s race maps right here:


SPEAKER SPEAKS. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been a relatively low-profile presence on the campaign trail this year, sat down with Charlie Rose last night, telling him that she fully expects to remain House Speaker in the new Congress. “I have every anticipation that we’ll come together in a similar format as we are now with me as Speaker of the House.” She added: “Let me tell you right here and now that I would rather be in our position right now than theirs. In order for them to win, they have to win around 38 seats and we’ll win some and so they’ll have to win in the 40’s.”

PROGRESSIVE AD PUSH. New ads all over the place today. The political arm of the Service Employees International Union is going up with a new ad for Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada hitting his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle, as “too dangerous to have real power over real people.” From the ad’s script: “Sharron Angle’s dangerous ideas will make her life worse – at every stage. If she was raped – and got pregnant – Angle would force her to have the baby. Her college loans – ended. If she’s looking for work – it’s tough luck with Sharron Angle. At retirement her Social Security – phased out.”

Meanwhile, the Political Action is release 28 television ads close races across the country that, according to the group, will focus on the “corporate funded front-group attack ads that have dominated the airwaves.” The ad features visuals of signs reading: “This ad is NOT paid for by the corporate front groups and oil billionaires that are trying to buy this election. This is OUR ad made by hard working Americans.” Move On notes that they will be running adds in Senate races in California, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri and Washington state. And, in the following House districts: AZ-8, NH-01, NY-19, NY-20, VA-05, WA-02, WA-03, NM-02, CO-03, NV-03, NH-2, NM-01, PA-03, IN-09, MI-07, FL-08, FL-24, IL-11, PA-10 and WI-08.

Watch for a new push from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee too, which is aiming its first on Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.



@fivethirtyeight: The aggressive play for GOP is to go all-in on WA+CA+WV+NV+IL and hope national trends bring you home in PA+KY+CO+WI.

@fixfelicia: Bill Clinton heading to Chicago next week to stump for IL Gov. Pat Quinn (D) & IL SEN nom Alexi Giannoulias (D)

@hambypCNN: have heard similar gripes RT @jmartpolitico Hurricane Sarah: Palin's disorganization and what it means for '12 -

@amieparnes: Jamie Foxx to emcee the rally in L.A. Friday, where POTUS is speaking, a Dem official says.



C-SPAN MILESTONE. Last night C-SPAN brought the number of debates it has broadcast throughout the midterm election cycle past 100, airing an Illinois, Florida and Connecticut gubernatorial debates as well as the Pennsylvania Senate debate. C-SPAN’s Howard Mortman notes: You can see all the debates C-SPAN has covered this election cycle (starting with the Jan. 14, 2010 Texas GOP primary Gov debate) via the C-SPAN Video Library:

THE NOTE IS HIRING AN INTERN. Calling on College Students! The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time Winter 2011 interns in Washington, D.C.  The paid internship begins in late December or early January and runs thru May of 2011.  Political Unit interns attend political events and contribute to stories for the politics page of They also help ABC News by conducting research, maintaining our calendar of upcoming political events, and posting stories to  


In order to apply, you MUST be either a graduate student or an undergraduate student who has completed his or her first year of college. The internship is NOT open to recent graduates.  You also must be able to work eight hours per day, Monday through Friday. Interns will be paid $8.50/hour. If you write well, follow politics closely, and have some familiarity with web publishing, send a cover letter and resume to Zach Wolf at, by Monday, November 15, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.  Please indicate in both your cover letter and the body of your email your student status and the specific dates and hours of your availability.


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