The New York Times reported a few weeks ago that President Obama and his re-election team are making “an intensified effort … to build support among women, using the debate over the new health care law to amplify an appeal that already appears to be benefiting from partisan clashes over birth control and abortion.”
As a simple electoral matter, this makes a lot of sense. Not only does Obama have a record on women’s issues worth bragging about, but it takes advantage of a “Republican war on women,” which alienates 53% of the voting population in an election year, in addition to being offensive on policy grounds.
To that end, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards sent a letter to supporters this week, directing them to an interesting new video.
The clip, of course, is of President Obama, explaining, “Women are not an interest group. They are mothers and daughters and sisters and wives. They are half of this country, and are perfectly capable of making their own choices about their health.”
The political subtext wasn’t exactly subtle. The president added, “When some professional politicians casually say they’ll ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood, don’t forget what they’re really talking about: eliminating the funding for preventive care that millions of women rely on, and leaving them to fend for themselves.”
But just as interesting as the literal message is the fact that video itself was even made. There are very few private organizations, in the public-health sphere or any other, that get personalized, direct messages from the president, but in this case, Obama had no qualms about reaching out to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, even when – especially when – Republicans are making Planned Parenthood opposition a litmus-test issue nationwide.
The gender gap was pretty enormous four years ago. Don’t be surprised if it’s even bigger in November.