"Now, what’s important to realize also, though, is this is not just an issue of fairness," Obama said during an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. "This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue. This is an economic issue. Just last week, a report confirmed what we already know: that women are increasingly the breadwinners for American families. Women are now the primary source of income for nearly 40 percent of American families."
"That’s not something to panic about, or to be afraid about -– that’s a sign of the progress and the strides that we’ve made. But what it does mean is that when more women are bringing home the bacon, they shouldn't just be getting a little bit of bacon," he added. "If they’re bringing home more of the income and that income is less than a fair share, that means that families have less to get by on for childcare or health care, or gas or groceries. It makes it harder for middle-class families to save and retire."
Fox News pundits first jumped on the issue late last month, when Red State editor Erick Erickson said on a panel "Look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society in other animals, the male is typically is the dominant role. The female is not antithesis or competing, it’s a complimentary role."
"Some women believe they can have it all, and that's the crux of the problem," he also said.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant touched on the same subject, without directly referencing the Pew Study, when he seemed to blame education problems in the U.S. on working mothers.
"I think both parents started working. The mom got in the workplace," he said in response to a question about how the country became "so mediocre" in reading proficiency rates and educational outcomes. He later walked those remarks back, saying "Anybody that thinks I would blame working mothers for failures in education is just ridiculous."
As Rev. Sharpton pointed out on Monday's PoliticsNation, the conversation over equal pay for women continues at a time when House Republicans are working on a farm bill that could make life harder for the neediest Americans, including some of those female breadwinners who are struggling to bring home the bacon. The bill working it's way through Congress would cut food stamps by $20 billion.
In a separate event announcing Jason Furman as his new pick for chief White House economist, President Obama talked about the need for putting the needs of Americans over party ideology.
"What's going to do the most good for the most people in this country -- not what's best for a political party, not what's best for a special interest," he said. "I don’t have another election. It's not what's best for me -- what's best for our middle class, and everybody who is working hard to get there. That’s what the American people deserve."