As speculation grows whether Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will mount a challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in 2014, Madigan is already being pressed on whether she is fit to run for office -- because she is the mother of two young children.
While at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. last week, reporters asked Madigan whether she could be governor and still raise her daughters, who are ages 4 and 7.
"Wow. Does anybody ever ask that question?" she responded. "I'm very lucky to have the support of my family. My husband helps take care of our kids. But, I think more people should ask that of men running for office as well."
More from the Chicago Sun-Times:
Pressed further on whether she could simultaneously hold both jobs -- governor and mom -- she said, "I can be the attorney general and do that. There are plenty of women who juggle."
Reminded that being governor is a lot more demanding than attorney general, she said, "All of these jobs are very demanding. And people who, unfortunately, have to work three jobs and don't necessarily have health-care coverage -- they’re even in a worse situation. So nobody needs to give any pity on what elected officials have to endure."
Female candidates tend to face far more questions about whether they can be both politicians and fit parents than male candidates do. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), for example, has received virtually no questions on the topic since being chosen as Mitt Romney's running mate, even though he is the father of young children. That treatment stands in stark contrast to the criticism that Sarah Palin received in 2008.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post noted that the Sun-Times story never identified which reporter "pressed" and "reminded" Madigan on the matter.
Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Madigan, told him, "It's my understanding it was a Sun Times reporter, but you'd have to confirm with the paper who was the one asking." The paper did not return Wemple's request for comment.
(HT: Name It. Change It.)
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99 Problems (JAY-Z)
Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."
The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.
Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."
Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)
Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.
We Don't Care (Kanye West)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."