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Eleanor Smeal Headshot

An Open Letter to Senator McCain

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Dear Senator McCain,

This week you have lashed out against the "Feminist Left." I understand your frustration. You see that women are not flocking to the McCain/Palin ticket and you don't understand why. Allow me to illuminate you.

The truth is, Senator McCain, your candidacy is the worst for women in recent history. You thought that women would vote for you once you put a woman on your ticket. But women aren't fooled by this tactic. Women, Senator McCain, vote on issues important to us, not on whether or not the candidate wears a skirt.

The problem, Senator McCain, is your voting record, platform, and policies. You have consistently voted wrong on issues that directly impact American women's bank accounts, personal liberties and health.

• You voted 19 times against increasing the minimum wage (the majority of minimum wage earners are women) - before you finally voted for it because it included business tax cuts. You voted to gut the Family and Medical Leave act - and you oppose expanding its coverage.

• You oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would restore women's ability to fight wage discrimination in the courts - telling women our problem was that we needed to get more education and training.

• You voted NO on the Violence Against Women Act and NO on funding for the Office of Violence Against Women.

• You voted NO on starting the Army's Breast Cancer Research Program which has funded hundreds of millions in breast cancer research. You voted NO on reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program and supported Bush's veto.

• You oppose a woman's right to choose, and your running mate Sarah Palin opposes legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

• You voted to terminate federal funds for family planning and you have ducked questions on contraceptive insurance discrimination.

• You have stated that you admire the voting records of Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and John Roberts, and have stated that you would like to put Justices like them - Justices who want to overturn Roe v. Wade - on the Supreme Court.

We have compared the votes and platforms of Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin on women's issues and the record is clear. No matter how you look at it - Obama/Biden score close to 100% and McCain/Palin approach a zero on women's rights and issues.

If credit should be given for consistency, you deserve such credit when it comes to voting against women's interests. Twenty-six years of voting against women's rights and issues and you think women, when given a clear choice, won't notice?


Eleanor Smeal is the President of The Feminist Majority. Her analysis of the candidates' records on women's issues can be found at www.feministsforobama.org.