Obama Begins His Equal Pay Assault Against McCain

You knew it was coming.

The equal pay for women issue was everywhere in Denver. As I wrote then, the Tuesday of the convention may have been the official "women's day" but considering how often the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act made it into speeches, whether in the California delegation breakfast, the EMILY's List gala or inside the Pepsi Center -- you'll recall that even Lily Ledbetter herself was there, it became crystal clear that the Obama campaign saw this issue as their ace in the hole with women voters. Back in April, Republicans killed the bill in The Senate where a cloture motion only received 56 of the required 60 votes to proceed to debate. John McCain didn't show up for that vote but later said that he would have opposed the bill if it had gotten an up or down vote.

The Obama campaign has turned his opposition to it into an ad now playing in Virginia (h/t Ben Smith.)

Watch it:

Notice how they turn McCain's opposition to this bill into more evidence that he is "out of touch with the economy." Also, I have to say, I know using black and white to depict ones opponent is pretty much political advertising 101, but I really like the sort of tinted B&W effect the McCain shots have here. It has the impact of reinforcing McCain as "olde fashioned" and, as Paris would say, from the "olden days;" it feels almost as though the footage is from news reel footage shown in movie theatres in the early 20th century or perhaps even from a silent film. They should use that more. It almost singlehandedly frames McCain's age not as a health issue but instead as a "from the past" issue and, hence, a step backward; by extension it casts Obama as the future, in a word, "change."

Tags: Barack Obama, Equal Pay, John McCain, lily ledbetter (all tags)



Re: Obama Begins His Equal Pay Assault Against McC

They should have thrown in there that Obama supports it, but otherwise, a good ad.

They've got all the issues they need to keep McCain on the defensive until election day, now they just have to execute and respond when they need to.   Keep the message up!

Today was the best non-convention day of the campaign IMO

by neko608 2008-09-15 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Begins His Equal Pay Assault Against McC
" They should have thrown in there that Obama supports it, but otherwise, a good ad." Seems inherent.
by mikeinsf 2008-09-15 11:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Begins His Equal Pay Assault Against McC

They need to expand this to all the battleground states! I showed this to my mom who is already a big Obama fan/ anti-McCain and even this had an effect on her. Imagine it on undecided voters. Very good and needs to expand!

by werd2406 2008-09-15 08:05PM | 0 recs
We talked extensively

last night about McCain's likely counter and then Obama's counter to the counter and then McCain's counter to Obama's counter to McCain's counter, so I won't rehash the conversation.

It should be an interesting day tomorrow; hopefully, we'll see continued movement in the gallup and rasmussen tracking polls from the media narrative which seemed to favor us today.  Something surely caused McCain to panic as he wouldn't go on six morning shows if he was fine with how the news narrative progressed yesterday.

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-15 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: We talked extensively

They just need to be quick and firm with their response to the response...given the past 4 days or so I have no reason to think they won't.

by neko608 2008-09-15 08:07PM | 0 recs
We'll see

I may be "concern trolling" a little bit about this issue as we generated around seventy posts.  I hope we are able to win the news cycle on this equal pay point.  It's just that McCain has a real strong soundbite comeback that is misleading ("Obama pays the women in his Senate office less than he pays the men in his Senate office") and people may just remember the soundbite rather than the reasoning.

I wonder if Clinton bites on the Palin questions that she's sure to receive tomorrow on GMA.

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-15 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: We'll see

I think you worry too much, BE. There just needs to be a quick deflecting soundbite.

"Obama pays women such and such on his campaign staff, versus this much for men, while McCain does blah blah blah"


"McCain pays women less on average than Obama."

or even

"Pay rates for a certain job are federally mandated"

which is just putting lipstick on a pig, but it deflects well enough. Attack McCain for distracting from the issue with lies, and then just pivot back to attacking based on equal pay legislation.

by Zephyr 2008-09-15 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: We'll see

Exactly...snap right back at 'em and bring it back to the issue at hand.

If it gets into a shouting match about freaking staff pay, then the whole message behind the ad will be lost in the mix.

by neko608 2008-09-15 08:34PM | 0 recs
I do worry too much

We're dems after all eh?

I'll say your second comment isn't true though; McCain does pay his women on Senate staff more on average than Obama pays his women because McCain has more women in positions of authority than Obama does.  The trick will be, as you noted, swithcing the topic to campaign staffs once the factual (but slightly misleading) McCain counterattack comes regarding how much women are paid in Obama's Senate staff.

Obama is on solid ground with his campaign staff; I just wish he had approved a pay raise before going down this path so we would have the total "high ground" on this issue without any chance of getting it spun against us.

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-15 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: I do worry too much

It is strictly true. The numbers you see conveniently exclude full time Senate interns. McCain has a ton of them, and naturally they bring down the women's average income.

Of course, it's deceptive and not an intelligent treatment of the issue, but in a war of sound bites that doesn't count. And since it's strictly true, that's all that matters.

by Zephyr 2008-09-15 08:42PM | 0 recs
You mean Obama right?

Obama has a lot of female interns because that would bring down the average female wage when compared to men.  Your comment wouldn't make sense with respect to McCain.

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-15 08:45PM | 0 recs
Re: You mean Obama right?

Obama has one intern, so it couldn't change anything much in terms of averages.

McCain has like 20. The 10 or so female ones bring down the female average a lot, so much so that Obama pays his female workers ~1000 more than McCain does.

by Zephyr 2008-09-15 08:46PM | 0 recs
Oh ok

I get your point that the Senate staff excludes female interns from McCain's staff that get paid less.  Including those salaries would bring down McCain's average female salary.

I guess McCain still has the counterargument that he has appointed more women to higher positions than Obama has in their respective Senate staffs.  That is probably a less deadly talking point than the first one that I mentioned.

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-15 08:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh ok

Yeah, that's the edge that remains. But once they're forced to mention that explicitly, it not only makes Obama's position more understandable but also allows for the easy rejoinder that Obama has more women places in high levels in his campaign than McCain does.

by Zephyr 2008-09-15 08:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh ok

*placed, not places.

by Zephyr 2008-09-15 08:54PM | 0 recs
That's the problem. . .

I haven't been able to confirm it yet, but I've read on two different sites that Obama pays the women in his campaign $0.83 for every dollar the men in his campaign make.  Though I don't know how they come up with those numbers (like if they're including Obama's salary in there, along with Axelrod and Ploufe who are the top paid campaign personnel).

On the other side, McCain may be paying women $1.04 to every dollar that men make.  Again, I don't know if they're including Sarah Palin's salary in there or not.  More research is needed.

The only issue will be if Obama is paying a particular man more than he is paying a particular woman with the same job description.

by shalca 2008-09-15 08:36PM | 0 recs
Obama's camp did not dispute

those numbers, so they are accurate.  Obama certainly doesn't pay a man more than he pays a woman with the same job description as that would be discrimination and sexism.  The reason why dudes get paid more in his office is that they are in higher positions, though Obama probably doesn't want it to be known that he has put more dudes in higher positions than he has with women.  Now, it's a totally different story with his campaign staff.  

It's just that the women in McCain's Senate office are in high positions.  Since Palin is not in his Senate office, she wouldn't count.  The reverse is true with McCain's campaign staff as there are very few women in positions of authority when compared to Obama's staff.

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-15 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's camp did not dispute

It'd be good to know the campaign pay numbers.

I trust that Obama's camp has this all planned out, with plenty of talking points. I expect as soon as the first McCain hack drops the Obama paying women less smear, the Obama surrogate will blow it out of the water.

by Zephyr 2008-09-15 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Begins His Equal Pay Assault Against McC

I can't wait till they bring social security up.

Privatization will be exponentially less popular than it was 4 years ago, plus McCain flip-flopped in FAVOR of privatization this year.

by neko608 2008-09-15 08:09PM | 0 recs
my suspicion about equal pay

Has any study parsed pay by gender and marital status?

My suspicion is that the pay differential between men and women is really a pay differential between married men and men supporting families and everybody else.

Equal pay has rarely resonated as a political issue. The people who vote on equal pay would vote the same way b/c of abortion, gay rights or some other gender issue.

And, as far as I can tell, there's been no serious attempt to address equal pay as a policy issue.

If most of the pay inequities are accounted for by married men getting paid more, there's some logic in women not wanting to change the status quo.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-09-15 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: my suspicion about equal pay

True enough.  I just don't think this is a real difference maker...especially with the potentially potent counter punch that BO's male campaign officers make more than the female campaign officers.  I know, I know, I know that BO's male campaign officers are - on average - in higher positions (and, thus are paid more), but to get into statistical minutia (ESPECIALLY with BO's speaking tone) is a dead-ender.

There's just not a lot of 'zing' to this, imo.  I would love to know how it plays out with women voters who are 'on the fence' - i.e. 'security moms' or 'soccer moms' who are probably also working women, to boot.  I could be wrong, but it seems that those voters who are probably most in favor of this legislation are already probably firmly entrenched in the Democratic column.  

by yankeeinmemphis 2008-09-15 08:57PM | 0 recs
logic? please explain n/t

by chiefscribe 2008-09-16 10:52AM | 0 recs
Don't crucify this comment, but

could this be a play for female PUMA's?

That's the only thing I can see coming from this commercial.  The problem with abortion rights is that it may resonate with certain women, but Roe v. Wade might NOT resonate as much with the over-50 female demographic (a HRC stronghold).  

by yankeeinmemphis 2008-09-15 09:01PM | 0 recs
PUMA's are soooo August '08.
by mikeinsf 2008-09-15 11:32PM | 0 recs
I agree with John McCain

That ill-trained and under-educated people should get less pay. Now, how do I get John McCain to return all his pay the treasury department wrote for his 26 years as Congressman and Senator?

by ann0nymous 2008-09-15 09:26PM | 0 recs
this ad is actually pretty good.

  i love the way they try to make mccain's explanation of not supporting eual pay sound so condesending in a way that makes MCCAIN sound condesending.  one of their better ads (not saying much though)

by Doug Tuttle 2008-09-15 09:53PM | 0 recs


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