10/03/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Just Any Woman Won't Do

I've always believed Barack was the best candidate for women. I had a number of friends who chose to support Hillary not just because they believed it was time for a woman president, but because they felt strongly about her positions and qualifications. We had robust conversations about the differences between our candidates on issues like health care, their ability to work across party lines, their record of support for civil justice, urban redevelopment, hunger relief, economic development, extending family and medical leave and protecting a woman's right to choose. What these friends made very clear was that they believed in Hillary not just because she was woman but in their opinion she was the best candidate.

When it became clear that Barack would become our party's nominee, Hillary's words rang true when she said, "the differences between Barack and I pale in comparison to the differences between Barack and McCain." My friends who had supported her in the primary and I agreed to work together because of our mutual interest in electing a president who will move our country in a new direction. That candidate is clearly Barack Obama.

Since John McCain announced picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, I have had many conversations with my personal circle of Hillary's most ardent supporters, and I am convinced that McCain is wrong if he thinks the selection of Sarah Palin will move a significant number of former Hillary supporters. Those women who supported Hillary, who believed that it was time for a woman as president and who may have even been disappointed when Barack didn't choose Hillary for vice president weren't supporting Hillary just because she was a woman. They believed Hillary was right on the issues, including a woman's right to choose, equal pay and civil justice.

In stark contrast, Sarah Palin adamantly opposes a woman's right to choose, she opposes stem cell research, and is wrong on the gun laws that will help keep our children safe on the street. Sarah seems like a terrific mother and a dynamic person but together she and John McCain are still wrong on the issues important to women voters and wrong on the issues that will bring the change America needs. Now it is our responsibility to ensure that we tell our neighbors and friends and women across the country that Barack is the candidate who will fight for women. Women must know that Barack is right on the issues important to them as mothers, wives, workers and citizens of this nation. That's what McCain and the Republicans don't understand. They just don't get that not just any woman will do.

Ertharin Cousin, President, The Polk Street Group, serves as a Senior Advisor to the Obama campaign.