NOW Today: 2012, the year of the woman

Updated
First lady Michelle Obama greets Ann Romney before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver.
First lady Michelle Obama greets Ann Romney before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

#BindersFullofWomen was trending well after Governor Mitt Romney discussed in Tuesday’s debate his efforts to diversify his senior staff and cabinet upon being elected Governor of Massachusetts. Now, it’s the trend on the trail as both President Obama and Vice President Biden seize on the comment to try and drive a wedge between the Republican nominee and women voters.

The female demographic is the largest in the country, and recent polls suggest that President Obama’s edge is narrowing - making the drive for female voters all the more critical 19 days ahead of the election. In 2008, President Obama won 56% of the female vote, according to exit polls. During the 2010 midterm elections, 48% of women voted for House Democrats, down from 55% four years earlier. House Republicans, meanwhile, captured 49% of women in 2010 - the best showing since the gender gap became evident in the 1980s, with the exception of 2002.

Of course, much has changed since 2008 and 2010, and the so-called “war on women” has played a central role in the 2012 campaign, with issues like abortion, contraception, and equal pay playing a central role in defining the two candidates.

Among the chief surrogates in the battle for women voters? Ann Romney, who is set to appear on The View today, and First Lady Michelle Obama, who has penned an open letter in Elle. The venues, of course, are hardly coincidences. We’ll explore the strategy and prospects of both campaigns in detail today at noon ET on NOW.

PANEL

John Heilemann, National Affairs Editor, New York Magazine/msnbc Political Analyst (@jheil)

Eric Bates, Executive Editor, Rolling Stone

Joy Reid, Managing Editor, theGrio.com/msnbc Contributor (@thereidreport)

Richard Wolffe, Vice President & Executive Editor, msnbc.com/msnbc Political Analyst (@richardwolffedc)

GUEST

Rory Kennedy, Documentary Filmmaker

NOW Today: 2012, the year of the woman

Updated