Sen. Barack Obama is being criticized for the choice of words he used last week during a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in which he reportedly degraded senior female allies of his one-time rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., by telling them to "get over it.”
According to an ABC report, the fray began when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, expressed the desire that Obama, D-Ill., and his campaign reach out to the millions of women still aggrieved by Clinton’s disappointing loss of the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Obama agreed with Lee, a staunch supporter of Clinton, that a lot of work still needs to be done to heal the party, adding he hopes the Clinton supporters in the room would help as much as possible.
“However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I’m running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time,” Obama is purported to have said.
“If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it.”
Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” Watson said she finds them to be dismissive and off-putting.
“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson reportedly chastised Obama at the meeting.
Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., disagreed, saying, “I, personally, as a Hillary supporter, did not take that as something distasteful – nothing like that.”
According to Clarke, Watson didn’t appreciate as a woman being told to "get over it." She says Watson then emphasized to Obama that it was a heated campaign and a lot of healing remains to be done.
"I agree," Obama said. "There's healing on both sides."
Obama reminded the caucus that he held his tongue when Clinton allies falsely suggested he was a Muslim and when the candidate herself said he wasn’t ready to be commander-in-chief, according to the ABC report.
Clarke says the rest of the meeting went on cordially, and after a presentation by Obama's pollster, many members of the caucus reportedly had nothing but pleasant exchanges with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Republican campaign operatives, however, immediately jumped on Obama’s faux pas by collecting other women’s takes on the phrase. It sent an e-mail with Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., that says Obama tells women who have questions about his record and his campaign to ‘get over it.’
“Working women in New Mexico are worried that Obama has yet to come up with a plan to lower gas prices – we won’t just ‘get over it.’ Obama has put New Mexico jobs at risk with his economic plan and tax increases on small businesses – we won’t just ‘get over it.’ Women’s votes should not be taken for granted, and this sort of language reminds us why,” Congressman Wilson says.
“I’m supporting John McCain because he’s campaigning for the vote of all Americans, including the former Clinton supporters and women to whom Obama is referring, and many of them, like me, see him as a leader who can keep our nation safe and get our economy back on track,” Wilson adds.
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