Dem Women: Kyl, McDonnell, Christie Are ‘Backward’

October 7, 2009 1:02 pm

In a DNC conference call this afternoon, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and State Del. Margaret Vanderhye (D-VA) accused members of the Republican party of being “backward” and “out of touch” on women’s issues.

The call targeted Republican gubernatorial candidates Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Viriginia, as well as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Republicans in general.

“I think we have an outdated view, an extreme view, a lack of understanding of what women’s lives are like today and the role of women in America,” Stabenow said. She wouldn’t, however, use the word “sexist.”

The lawmakers cited Republicans’ opposition to health care reform as evidence, since women are usually in charge of their families’ health care, and are disproportionately hurt by current health insurance policy.

But they also called out the NRCC’s statement yesterday about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, specifically that Gen. Stanley McChrystal “should put her in her place.” That, said Wasserman-Schultz, is evidence of “a total lack of respect for women.”“It’s perhaps understandable they wouldn’t understand the needs of women,” she added, saying 80 percent of House Republicans are men. (Although no one said “sexism” on the call, Wasserman-Schultz appeared on MSNBC soon after and said the NRCC comment “shows the shocking sexism in the Republican party today.)

Stabenow, who recently got into a tussle with her Finance Committee colleague Kyl, said she was shocked by the Republicans’ attitude toward things like requiring insurers to cover basic maternity care.

“One of the most shocking things of the Senate Finance Committee markup was the extent to which my Republican colleagues weren’t even aware of what they were saying that was so offensive to women,” she said. Maternity care “is not a frill. This is not an extra for the majority of Americans who happen to be women.”

She also said Republican votes yesterday against an amendment that would help women employed by defense contractors bring sexual assault cases to court were part of this theme. Thirty Republican senators voted against the amendment, which still passed with 68 votes.

Wasserman-Schultz zeroed in on Christie, saying his opposition to requiring health insurers to cover certain care would “take women back to the Dark Ages of drive-through deliveries.” His “backward position” is “shocking,” she said.

“He’s not just wrong for women, he’s frighteningly wrong,” he said.

Vanderhye focused mainly on McDonnell’s controversial grad school thesis. She said that thesis is a “blueprint” of his plans for Virginia.

“He is in fact disenfranchising half of the population,” she claimed, adding that his election would be “bad for women.”

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