Obama, Biden Campaign for Women's Vote

See the full interview with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.

ByABC News via logo
September 19, 2008, 9:50 AM

Sept. 19, 2008 — -- In a disagreement among candidates' wives, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden took issue with a recent statement by Cindy McCain that abortion is not a "major issue" in the presidential campaign.

Responding to a comment made by John McCain's wife, Cindy, earlier this week, Jill Biden said that preserving a woman's right to abortion should not be dismissed as unimportant in this election.

Cindy McCain avoided directly answering a question about the Supreme Court repealing Roe v. Wade in an interview with "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "There are people without jobs, that are hurting, whose businesses who have collapsed. This is not the major issue on people's minds right now," she said.

After hearing McCain's response, Jill Biden looked at Michelle Obama and arched her eyebrows.

"I think it's very important personally," Biden told ABC News' Claire Shipman. "But I am of that generation of women who fought for Roe v. Wade and I can't imagine the Supreme Court overturning it. I think women have to remember that."

Michelle Obama agreed. "It's one of the many important issues that women are going to be thinking about in this election," she told "GMA."

Cindy McCain has called herself "pro-life" but also says she disagrees with her husband's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on whether abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest.

Jill Biden and Michelle Obama acknowledged Palin's appeal, but said women should not vote for the Republican ticket simply because she's the vice presidential candidate.

"Why would they vote for her just because she's a woman?" asked Biden, a teacher with a Ph.D. in education who raised three children. "I mean, what's the rationale behind that? They have to look at how things are going to change and help their families. That's what they have to focus on."

Michelle Obama got some flak earlier this week when she said that voters shouldn't make a decision based on whether "she's cute." Obama quickly added, "And I'm talking about me," but Republicans criticized her for diminishing Palin's experience.

Obama, a lawyer who scaled back her career to raise two daughters, has been holding roundtable discussions about the economic struggle many women face.