Hillary Clinton supporters and Women for McCain leadership are slamming Barack Obama’s new ad, titled “His Choice,” as sexist and demeaning to women for its depiction of running mate Sarah Palin.
The ad features a McCain quote about relying on his vice president for economic advice — and then shows an unrelated clip of Palin winking mischievously at the camera.
The implication: She’s less than a person to be taken seriously.
“It’s a sexist example of reducing a woman to an object — a wink — and denying her a voice. Her lips are actually moving, but she’s not allowed to be heard,” says Stephanie Bressler, a Hillary Clinton supporter and women and politics professor at the University of Scranton.
Bressler is not alone in her umbrage over the ad.
Christine Toretti, co-chair of Pennsylvania Women for McCain, said, “God forbid a leader is not only competent, but beautiful and wears a skirt!”
And Judy Singleton, co-chair of Indiana Women for McCain, said: “To imply that Governor Palin doesn’t understand economics because she’s pretty and winks is ridiculous.”
Such objections are echoing throughout the country, so much so that the McCain-Palin campaign released the following statements Friday from former Clinton supporters and Women for McCain leaders reacting to the ad:
Judy Black, national co-chair of Women for McCain: “Enough is enough! Senator Obama has stooped to a new low in his constant attacks on Governor Palin . . . Barack Obama’s choice has been to attack, demean and ridicule women, first Senator Clinton and now Governor Palin.
“American women do not need any more of Obama’s sexist choices or attacks. John McCain made the choice to put a strong leader with a proven record forward as his running mate. As a woman, I am outraged by the over-the-top treatment of Governor Palin, and I urge all women to reject the double standard put forward by a man who was just a state senator in Illinois three years ago by voting McCain-Palin this Tuesday.”
Patty Denton, Washington County Republican chairwoman: “We, as a country, should be past the days in which women were treated as inferior. Women are the backbone of this country. It’s disappointing for Senator Obama, who has proclaimed change’ as his mantra, to disregard the monumental progress women have made in this country.
“Governor Palin is an exceptional leader and has fought on the side of all Americans, regardless of race or gender. These types of ads show that the Obama campaign is willing to do anything to score a few political cheap shots at the expense of women. On November 4th, women will go to the polls and demand respect for themselves and their daughters from the type of negative attacks perpetrated by Senator Obama.”
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson: “With more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined, Governor Sarah Palin holds her own on the national scene and embodies the values that Americans want in those who will lead our country. This ad is just one more example of the constant attacks from the Obama-Biden campaign. With each attack, they attempt to dismiss the intelligent, qualified, and experienced woman who will soon become our next vice president.”
Sharon Barnes, state chair of Women for McCain: “These attacks . . . show the desperation of the Democratic Party to try to stem the overwhelming support for the maverick Republican team of John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin — a team dedicated to bringing about the right kind of change for the people of this country.
“The voters of this great nation will not be fooled. Governor Palin is a proven leader and serious reformer with experience in economics, defense and foreign policy that the Democratic candidate for president can only wish he had.”
Shelly Mandell, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women: “I am outraged by the new ad put out by Barack Obama. It is sexist and demeaning to women. These tactics started with Hillary Clinton and continue, growing even more disgusting, with Governor Palin. I was a Hillstar for Hillary and an avid supporter. Trashing two women clearly in a sexist manner in one election is an outrage and must be identified and stopped. There must be consequences. Let female Obama supporters take a good look at this and still believe their candidate supports women’s rights and women’s dignity.”
Prameela Bartholomeusz, DNC Platform Committee member: “I am once again stunned at the personal and sexist attacks by the Obama campaign against Governor Palin. This latest ad is sexist and offensive. The governor of Alaska has been managing and balancing a budget of $10 billion; I think she knows a bit about economics.
“Senator Obama never spoke up against sexism during the primary season, and is not speaking out against misogyny during this phase of the election season. He is contributing to it. I have no confidence that Senator Obama will fight for women’s issues if elected. This sets women back decades.”
Christine J. Toretti, Pennsylvania Women for McCain co-chair and state national committeewoman: “Vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin is an experienced public servant. As governor of Alaska and as mayor of Wasilla, she proved to be an effective leader and businesswoman. Senator Obama’s baseless attack on Governor Palin is preposterous. God forbid a leader is not only competent, but beautiful and wears a skirt!”
Bernie Comfort, state chair of Pennsylvania Women for McCain: “Senator Obama’s ad simply mocks Governor Palin. The real truth is Governor Palin has experience dealing with the economy as an executive running the state of Alaska and as a business owner. She is the experienced leader we need to lead this country with John McCain.”
Stephanie Bressler, Hillary Clinton supporter and women and politics professor at the University of Scranton: “It’s a sexist example of reducing a woman to an object — a wink — and denying her a voice. Her lips are actually moving, but she’s not allowed to be heard.”
Barbara Rosier-Tryon, member of the Warren Republican Women’s Club: “This is yet another sexist cheap shot . . . Sarah Palin’s record of reform and experience as governor of Alaska and commander of the state’s National Guard is more distinguished than Barack Obama’s one and only term in the U.S. Senate.”
Martha Jenkins, North Carolina Women for McCain state chairwoman: “Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to make up for his own lack of foreign policy expertise. He has absolutely no reason to criticize McCain’s pick of Palin. Governor Palin is infinitely more qualified than Barack Obama.
“In running this ad, Obama is acknowledging that Governor Palin is an effective and a positive part of John McCain’s candidacy. Otherwise, why focus on her at all? Barack Obama is using this ad to divert attention from the fact that the American public is realizing that Obama is just as radical as his associates, and that he lacks the experience and judgment to be President of the United States.”
Albert Chang, regional director of Citizens for McCain, which includes Democrats and Independents: “We look forward to winning Tampa and the surrounding counties for McCain-Palin. This ad is a distracting personal attack on an experienced executive and the voters of Florida will see through it. This campaign will remain focused on issues impacting the everyday lives of Floridians and Americans.”
Mary Calderon, Tampa, former Hillary Clinton supporter: “I’m disappointed that Senator Obama has resorted to personal attacks at this point in the campaign. Would any male candidate for vice president of the United States be afforded similar treatment by the Obama campaign? I would say not.”
Judy Singleton, Indiana Women for McCain co-chair: “Obama seems to have a problem with strong, smart women. Ask Hillary. Running an ad like this is an affront to talented women everywhere. To imply that Governor Palin doesn’t understand economics because she’s pretty and winks is ridiculous.
“As a governor, she’s proved she understands the economy better than Barack Obama, who hasn’t completed his first term in the Senate, does. All one has to do is look at her record of leadership on economic development and then look at his.”
Amy Siskind, ambassador for Hillary: “When Senator Hillary Clinton was demeaned and degraded during the presidential primary, many of us of, myself included, vowed ‘never again.’ The treatment of Governor Palin by both the mainstream media, and now the Obama campaign, shows that the misogyny fest is alive and well in our country. There has been a complete and utter smear job of our fellow citizen, Sarah Palin, who is only trying to serve her country.”
The Obama campaign’s ad contrasts sharply with the image that the national Women for McCain organization projects of Palin on its Web site:
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