Before the crisis in the housing and financial markets threw the presidential election for a loop, the Obama campaign had planned to spend this week making a strong push for women voters. The Senator held a private phone conference call with national female leaders to plot ways to generate support. His female allies in Congress held a press conference at the DNC to hammer John McCain on his opposition to equal pay legislation. And vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden held a virtual question and answer session with, perhaps, the most important female voice of all, Hillary Clinton.
Much of that work was done out of the public eye, as economic matters demanded Obama and the press' attention. But the Senator, nevertheless, stuck to his agenda. He was helped by the crossover between economic issues and women's issues.
Late Friday, the Obama campaign released a new ad hitting McCain for his opposition to equal pay. The spot, titled "Need Education," was narrated by Lilly Ledbetter, the Alabama woman whose Supreme Court case led to 2007 fair pay legislation.
"I worked at this plant for 20 years before I learned the truth. I'd been paid 40% less than men doing the same work. John McCain opposed a law to give women equal pay for equal work. And he dismissed the wage gap, saying women just need education and training. I had the same skills as the men at my plant. My family needed that money. On the economy, it's John McCain who needs an education."
Like many of the arguments from the past week, the ad paints John McCain as dangerously bad for female voters. McCain's campaign already has a response. Spokeswoman Crystal Benton says:
"Barack Obama claims he's for equal pay for women, but women working in his Senate office earn an average of $9,000 less than men, while women in John McCain's Senate office earn an average of nearly $2,000 more than men. American women understand that real leadership is about what you do, not just what you say."