Romney, Obama spar over inequality in the workplace

Updated
President Barack Obama, right, and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, participate in the presidential debate, Tuesday,...
President Barack Obama, right, and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, participate in the presidential debate, Tuesday,...
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

After Tuesday’s debate, the Romney campaign has been busy pushing back against criticism regarding the former governor’s stance on women’s issues such as inequality in the workplace. During a Wednesday campaign event in Virginia, Romney reiterated that he would be the best candidate to help women achieve economic equality with men.

However, not everyone seemed convinced. On Thursday, msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell talked about her conversation with Katherine Fenton, who asked both candidates to address that topic during Tuesday’s town hall. Fenton told Mitchell she was unhappy with their responses.

“You know, I can’t say I thought my question was answered by either candidate, explicitly,” said Fenton. “I was trying to illicit a response that indicated what plans they would have for this future in order to rectify these inequalities and I feel like rather than that response, I got more of– either diversion to a different discussion or a laundry list of things they have done for women in the past.”

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter replied that Obama understands “the problems with pay inequality across America,” and reminded voters that Obama supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, whereas Romney does not. Cutter also said that Obama connects with women voters by drawing on his experience being raised by a single mother and watching his grandmother get passed over for jobs.

According to Cutter, Obama has also fully thrown his support behind the Pay Check Fairness Act. The legislation is currently being held in Congress.

Romney Campaign Senior Adviser Barbara Comstock countered Cutter, saying Romney “walks the walk and doesn’t just talk the talk.” She also pointed out that he had “sought out women, and wanted to have a bigger selection of women,” in his cabinet while governor of Massachusetts.  Romney wants to “empower women” not hinder their capabilities in the workplace, Comstock said, noting that  Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman worked for the candidate during his tenure at Bain Capital.

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The Republican candidate picks the best people he can find, often putting women in the top spots, Comstock said. She also attempted to deflate left-wing criticism of Romney’s remarks about workplace flexibility, saying “real women out there in the working world appreciate male and female bosses who accommodate their schedules and time.”

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Romney, Obama spar over inequality in the workplace

Updated