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DNC Day 2 – Convention Cop

As promised, WRUN Admin Pattie here, back to do this Convention Cop thing again, this time for the Democrats. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been a registered Democrat since I turned 18. Those expecting a non-partisan take on this evening’s event will be disappointed (though thanks for stopping by). As always, I will try to be fair and will point out what statements, affirmations, and issues I disagree with because even though this is the party named on my voter registration card, I don’t always like what they do and say.

Here’s the line-up for the night and rest assured, readers, I am fully caffeinated:

Speeches from the Time Warner Cable Arena:
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.:
• Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)
• Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack
• Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.)
• Education Secretary Arne Duncan
• Progress for People Video: Education
• American Voices Remarks
• Former Gov. Jim Hunt (N.C.)
• Remarks and Video Presentation in Memoriam
• Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey B. Gantt
• Jessica Sanchez, Singer/Songwriter

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
• Stronger Together Video: Women’s Health
• Elizabeth Ann “Libby” Bruce
• Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
• Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.)
• Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.)
• American Heroes Video: Veterans
• Ed Meagher
• Veterans Affairs Secretary General Eric Shinseki
• Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
• Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colo.)
• Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of Roman Catholic Social Justice Organization, NETWORK
• Gov. Jack Markell (Del.)

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.:
• Karen Mills
• Progress for People Video: Small Business
• Bill Butcher
• Calif. attorney general Kamala D. Harris
• Stronger Together Video: Immigration
• Benita Veliz, DREAM Act Activist
• Cristina Saralegui, Journalist, Actress, and Talk Show Host
• Sandra Fluke, Attorney and Women’s Rights Activist
• Austin Ligon, Co-Founder and Former CEO of CarMax, Inc.
• An Economy Build to Last Video: Auto-Industry
• Karen Eusanio
• Bob King, President of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
• Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt, and David Foster, Former Employees at companies controlled by Romney’s Bain Capital
• Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.)

10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.:
• Jim Sinegal, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Costco
• Elizabeth Warren, Candidate for Senate, Massachusetts
• DNC chair Antonio R. Villaraigosa
• Former president Bill Clinton
• Roll Call Vote
• Alice Germond, Secretary of the Democratic National Committee
• Benediction
• Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, California
• Retire Colors
• Recess

Reaction to remarks by Nancy Pelosi:
Nancy Pelosi leads with the fact that she was the first mother and grandmother to be Speaker of the House. Nice touch. That segues nicely into the “Drive for 25”  – the Democratic push to get the 25 more House seats they need for a majority. While praising Obama for leading on Health Care and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, she says he was blocked at almost every turn by the GOP and specifically on the DREAM Act. (Shout out to Latino voters!)
The money part of the speech is her list of items “on the ballot” in this election: Medicare, Social Security, Women’s rights (nice), Citizens United (also, nice inclusion), the “character of the country.”
Has Pelosi set the tone for the night: focus more on programs and specific issues, less on the overall economy? We’ll see. Twitter pundits mention that Pelosi should have listed the 2011 debt battle as evidence of one of the ways the GOP tried to hamstring the President. Probably. Maybe she’s leaving that for another speaker.

Reaction to remarks by Tom Vilsack:
Vilsack is apparently here to make the case that the Dems are better for rural America. Most interesting point is that he seems to be the only speaker at either convention to mention the Mid-west drought. Congress famously failed to act on drought relief or a farm bill before breaking for recess on August. Unfortunately, Vilsack does not chide Congress for this, I wish he did. He gives the President credit for his actions in redirecting Agriculture Department funds and purchases to help aid farmers after Congress failed to reach a consensus. The farm bill and drought relief is, sadly, a prime example of not only how Congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to work together, but of how the Senate and the House failed to reach consensus with competing legislation. Each chamber wants to do things their way and only their way so in the end, nothing is done.

Reaction to the Democratic Women of the Senate Video/Tribute:
The music annoys me. It’s a little too cutesy for a tribute to female lawmakers in my opinion.

The 12 Democratic women of the Senate march out and my first thought is, “We need more than that.” Then, maybe we would have had a chance of advancing a Paycheck Fairness Bill?

Reaction to remarks from Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
Speaking of the Paycheck Fairness Bill, its sponsor is at the mike. “Every issue is a woman’s issue. Equal pay for equal work is an all-American issue,” she says. Word to that. Mikulski repeats what is becoming a point made by many female speakers that this convention: The Affordable Care Act makes it illegal for insurers to charge women more for care. Like the video, some of Mikulski’s turns of phrase are too cutesy for my taste – “We work on macro issues and macaroni and cheese issues” – but her ending point is her best. To finish the work of the recovery, “We need reinforcements.” Read: elect more women. We’re working on it!

Reaction to remarks from Arne Duncan:
The appearance of Arne Duncan signals that we’re entering an education block of speakers. As mentioned last week, my household is very much “the choir” to preach to on this issue. Two adults working in public education plus one child attending an urban public school.

Duncan’s speech is quotable, which is fine, but I find myself wishing for more on K through 12 class size and the importance of saving teaching jobs in urban school districts, in hopes of achieving the kinds of student teacher ratios that more affluent districts can tout.

He shifts to higher ed: “higher-ed is an economic necessity,” Duncan argues and mentions the President’s very laudable work to secure Pell Grants and keep student loan rates low. The Obama Administration gets a lot of criticism on K through 12 education, much of it valid, but I argue that they don’t get the credit they deserve on higher ed. Lost in the bickering over the debt battle is the little-known fact that the entire debt deal almost fell apart because some in the House GOP wanted to cut the Pell program to the bone. That the Pell program emerged with more funding and increased annual awards is remarkable. This is an important point to me because, as a employee of a large urban community college, I see firsthand everyday that Pell Grants assist lower-middle class and poor students, many of whom are the first in their families to obtain any kind of higher education. If you’re going to make the case that America can still provide a “path to the middle-class that goes through America’s classrooms,” you need to fund Pell Grants. Full stop.

Reaction to Pell Grant video and remarks by Miami-Dade Student Johanny Adames:
OK, the tactic of putting real people out there to make the case for the President is paying off. She’s terrific. I’m getting misty because I see this young lady and thousands like her everyday at my college. She is the face of millions of part-time college students in this country, who work, take care of families, and go to school.
Some background, Miami Dade College, one of the largest community colleges in the country, is a favorite of the Obama Administration. The President made a commencement speech there in 2011.

Reaction to remarks by Jim Hunt:
Hunt is making the business case for education and is doing a terrific job of it. His recount of the North Carolina education-to-research jobs-success story is causing some on Twitter to joke that he’s running for another term as governor. “Magic didn’t do it in NC. Education did it” is going to resonate. Gives Obama credit for focusing on community colleges more than any other president. I think it’s necessary to add that that is in no small part due to Dr. Jill Biden’s dedication to community colleges. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Reaction to remarks by Elizabeth Ann “Libby” Bruce:
Interesting that Bruce is making the case for Planned Parenthood by recounting her experience with endometriosis, which is a condition that is often treated with hormonal contraception. The same contraception that the Blunt Amendment and other GOP-backed legislation tried to get bumped out of the Affordable Care Act. By the way, it’s a condition that I also suffer from. Once again, I am the choir.

Reaction to remarks by Cecile Richards:
As a speaker, Cecile is not her mom, the late force of nature Anne Richards, but she’s pretty damn good. She leads with a blunt (ha!) assessment of the Congressional GOP: “On day one they came after women’s health and have not let up since…It’s like we woke up in a bad episode of Mad Men.” Hey, I think I made that point!
She adds in some folksy Texas charm to chip away at the Romney-Ryan claim that their budget plan and proposed legislation helps women:  “any more help from Mitt Romney and I’m going to have to take in ironing.” OK, yes, I did LOL at that one because it’s something MY grandmother would say and she’s definitely not from Texas. Overall I think Cecile Richards did Planned Parenthood proud.

Reaction to remarks by Steny Hoyer:
Leads with the well-known Mitch McConnell quote that the Republicans’ top priority was to make Obama a one-term president. Don’t expect that that will be the only time the speakers refer to that McConnell quote tonight. Not quite “we built that” but it will reappear, trust me. Hoyer then transitions into a Jesse Jackson quote to sharpen the point: “they want to drown the captain, and they’re prepared to sink the ship to do so.” That was unexpected but it’s a great line. Hoyer riffs on the theme of GOP obstructionism for a while before wrapping it up.

Around this time it dawned on me that most of the night was still to come. Yikes! Also, around this time I began to notice some scuttle on Twitter that the Dems were shaking up the speaker schedule for various reasons. A few speakers had been dropped or moved to Thursday. Hmmmm…

Reaction to remarks from Gov. John Hickenlooper:
Hickenlooper’s theme of “we, not just me” is very well executed, especially when paired with his point about the history of the American west not being just “rugged individualism but about communities.” It makes me wonder if it’s a very subtle jab at Romney’s attempt to be the heir to Ronald Reagan, who as an actor, did much to extend myths about the American cowboy. Even if it’s not intended as such, it’s great. Hickenlooper has been underrated as a speaker but I’m not sure I’ll make that mistake again. He’s not overly folksy but calming in a way that few politicians are and after the summer that Colorado has had, calming may be just what is needed right now.

Reaction to remarks from Sister Simone Campbell from Network:
You know for all the talk from the GOP about the Democrats ‘getting rid of God’, quite a few of the speakers have mentioned faith. Strickland quoted the Bible on day one and Sister Simone Campbell, one of the Nuns on the Bus is in a prime speaking spot on day two. Sister Simone is phenomenal as a speaker. Right off the bat she fires up the audience and shores up her position by saying “I am my sister’s keeper. I am my brother’s keeper” well-known to the delegates and home viewers as one of the most resonating lines of Obama’s 2004 DNC speech. The audience on her side, Sister Simone then sets about making the moral case against the Ryan budget. What could be more powerful than a nun repeatedly saying “it’s just wrong” on national television? Why did no one think to give her a ruler? (Yes, I went to Catholic school.)

Her best line might have been her defense of the Affordable Care Act which she says will stop people from dying unnecessarily due to lack of care. “This is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do.”  Zing. The Vatican may not be pleased.

We transition into the Small Business block.

Reaction to remarks from Gov. Jack Markell:
Making the business case for Obama. Decent job with content, poor delivery.

Reaction to remarks from Karen Mills:
Little known fact: before Obama, the head of the Small Business Administration was not a cabinet position.

Reaction to video/remarks from Bill Butcher:
At this time of night, Butcher should probably have NOT led with the fact that he did not bring free beer. I know I need it. Another well-chosen “average American” on the podium. Butcher does a nice job, with well-placed shout-outs to the Recovery Act and to small local banks. (As an aside, I’m of the mindset that it’s probably not a bad thing that Obama’s acceptance speech got moved from the Bank of America Stadium back to the Time Warner Arena,  given that bank’s less than stellar reputation.)

Reaction to remarks from Kamala Harris:
It’s always interesting to me to see the various ways politicians try to tell their personal stories through discussions about key issues. For Harris, the Attorney General of California who helped broker a $25 Billion dollar settlement with five major banks over the housing crises, she links her story to the home  ownership dream. More precisely, her mother’s purchase of a new home when Harris was a child and the pride the family felt. Read: “I am an average American like you who takes pridae in owning a home.” Along the way, she tries to ding Romney, citing an interview he gave with a Las Vegas newspaper in which he said that the housing market should “run its course and hit the bottom.”

Did he say that? Yup, but in fairness to Romney, that’s not all he said. Even so, the Romney housing plan is light on details.

Reaction to DREAM Act video and remarks from Benita Veliz:
Veliz is the first undocumented person to speak a national political convention. This is important and it is being noticed by Latinos. Many of the Spanish-language news sites I searched prior to this evening’s speeches mentioned Veliz’s speech tonight, not Clinton’s, as the moment to watch. For those who don’t know, Veliz’s presence at the convention is made possible by the fact that by executive order, Veliz and millions of other undocumented young people, are no longer “illegal.” Obama signed the order after the DREAM Act stalled in Congress.

Reaction to remarks from Cristina Saralegui:
Cristina is apparently the Latina “Oprah”. If pulling Oprah into politics was an achievement in 2008, this is easily as important, perhaps even more so because of the battle for Latino voters. Her speech is a fluid blend of English and Spanish. She’s not the first convention speaker to do that this year, but she’s doing it very well. “The promise of America is in danger,” she warns. ” Governor Romney calls young people like [Benita] ‘illegal aliens.’ President Obama calls them ‘dreamers.’ That is the difference in this election.” What is notable here is that Christina does not simply ask “su gente” to vote. She asks them to organize, register other voters, and spread the word about the difference between Obama and Romney. Powerful appeal.

And we’re transitioning into a block about the auto industry.

Reaction to auto industry video:
There have been a several good videos tonight but this one is the best. This is the one directed squarely at middle America.

Reaction to remarks from Karen Eusanio, GM autoworker:
More “average American” voters nailing their moments on the stage. Key quote: “Because he put himself in our shoes, he put us back on our feet.” Which reminds me, have you read our guest blog post on empathy? You should.

Reaction to remarks from Bob King:
Starts off with are Margaret Chase quote. Nice. He’s the wonkiest, most professorial union leader I’ve ever seen and though his delivery is labored (ha!), his points are very good. “Obama met the test of moral character” he says of the auto industry rescue. “It was not universally popular but it was absolutely right.”
Nice reminder about Labor Day. “Generations of workers fought for the right to organize and collectively bargain. Look at Wisconsin…that’s why unions matter.” That mention of Wisconsin is not an accident. It pulled Ryan into the conversation without needing to mention this name.

Reaction to remarks from Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt, and David Foster, Former Employees at companies controlled by Romney’s Bain Capital:
Very emotional speeches from all three, and all three follow the same cadence down to the “we know businesses sometimes fail but…” Trying to fact check these is tricky. There are differing reports as to how much money Bain made off of these endeavors. Interesting that the last story from the steelworker takes a direct shot at Romney over his end date as Bain’s CEO, itself a subject of considerable debate.

Pairing these two segments together is not accidental at all. The message the Democrats want to present: Obama saved jobs, Romney destroyed them and made money doing so.

Reaction to remarks from Chris Van Hollen:
Another theme of the night emerging: “let’s all fact check Ryan!” It’s Van Hollen’s turn and he looks like he’s enjoying it. On the debt: “Paul Ryan voted for ALL of it” and “Congressman Ryan, America is literally in your debt.”

Disputes the GOP claim that the President does not have a plan for reduce the deficit: “He does! It’s on the Internet!” It is. As is the jobs plan. And he adds that the Bush tax cuts “lifted the yachts while the other boats ran aground.” Props to Van Hollen for being brief and quotable when I needed a caffeine break.

Reaction to remarks from Sandra Fluke:
The moment that many in women’s rights activism have been waiting for. Fluke’s victory lap over he-who-shall-not be-named. Calls Romney-Ryan future for women’s health an “offensive relic.” It’s notable that Fluke is the first speaker of the night to bring up the Violence Against Women Act, though not by name. Which makes me more disappointed in Pelosi’s speech.

Fluke calls out Romney for not denouncing…you-know-who and implies that this is a severe character defect. Obama by contrast, thinks of his “daughters, not his delegates.” It should be noted that the timing of Fluke’s speech is one of the key deviations from tonight’s schedule. She was shifted into the network television coverage from an earlier slot. The fight for women’s votes is important. Prime time important.

Reaction to remarks from Jim Sinegal
Poor guy to have to follow Sandra. I apologize, but I did not hear much of what he said beyond his discussion of his company’s superior wages and benefits for its workers. It was good stuff but I think his speech and delivery suffered because of the timing shift. He should have been in the block with the auto industry and Bain employees. The crowd was not patient with him either. They were ready for Warren and Clinton.

Reaction to remarks by Elizabeth Warren:
Nice welcome from the crowd. Thanks to Emily’s List and the Democratic National Committee’s mailings, the delegates know who Warren is and the importance of her race. This is Teddy Kennedy’s seat after all, to Dems, it is blasphemy to have anyone but a Dem in it.

Even without the bio, I challenge anyone to not have guessed that Warren had been a teacher. Her delivery gives her away and that’s not a knock. She is smart to focus on the “corporations are not people” thing and to directly challenge Romney on that point. Interesting that speech addresses Romney and not her opponent, Scott Brown. That seems deliberate as well. She ends on two key points: one a Biblical reference and one a tribute to Ted Kennedy. What was I saying about blasphemy? Yeah. Overall, her national debut is a success. She’s measured and professorial but passionate. Can that translate to a win over a pro-choice male candidate? We will see.

It’s time for the big gun. Tonight’s headliner.

Reaction to remarks by President Bill Clinton:
Between the video and the song, I’m 16 again, watching my first DNC in 1992. He’s…extremely Bill Clinton. Did he just flirt with the First Lady? Did I just express surprise at that?

He pays compliments to his wife and the State Department because if he didn’t there would be Hell to pay in the media. Even more compliments to the President. Nicely done.
He’s all charm to start, then Professor Bill comes out. Watch out. Goes after the GOP for getting rid of their top moderates. Though he does not mention Senator Dick Lugar by name, that’s who he’s alluding to. This is vintage Bill Clinton circa 1992, 1993. Never thought I’d see this again.

Holy crap, he’s not stopping. Taxes, Medicare, Welfare. Took that one personally, he says. Twitter says he went off the prepared remarks five minutes ago. This is AD-LIBBED!!!??

Now he’s after Ryan! It takes Brass!

My co-admin just posted “Arithmetic!” on Facebook and then presumably, passed out. (Just kidding.)

Journalists on Twitter are losing their minds at how much of this is not in their prepared texts.
Crowd is chanting “four more years” but it’s not clear on for whom? Obama or Bill?

My husband is sitting next to me in stunned silence. Only Bill Clinton would adlib a wonky, nearly hour-long takedown of the opposing party’s entire platform on live television. With a smile. Everyone remember why the GOP hated Bill? Because he could do that.

He’s done. The crowd may have let him go on longer. Bow and hug to Obama. Like Paul Ryan’s speech last week, that one’s going to be a bear to fact check but it was unlike anything I’ve seen or heard done at a political convention.

Years ago, when Bill Clinton left office, my mom was still upset over what had happened in the last half of his presidency and I don’t blame her. There will always be a question of just how much Clinton could have accomplished if he had more control over his baser leanings. Still, I told her that I thought history would be kind to Bill Clinton. Kinder than it would be to other recent presidents. I stand by that. Was tonight’s epic speech about Obama vs. Romney or about Bill Clinton’s legacy? We won’t know for sure until November but my knowledge of Clinton tells me that it was probably a bit of both.

Thanks for reading. Please post comments and reactions here or on our Facebook page.


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Remember This – Tracking the Lawmakers and Women’s Rights

In order to maximize accountability, we are keeping track of what candidates and elected officials do and say against women’s rights. We moved this list from its original location on our Facebook page to eventually allow for shared authorship. The list was becoming too much for our admins to maintain. And sadly, the war on women’s rights does not appear to be slowing down.

We will be updating this list regularly. Please submit any entries we may have missed to our Facebook page or Twitter account. Please be aware, this list is for elected officials or candidates who have made anti-women’s rights statements and/or sponsored/voted in favor of/signed anti-women’s rights legislation. This list is not for media figures who have made sexist or provocative statements to get attention and/or ratings. We prefer not to give them what they want.

Candidate/Elected Official Federal Level – Seeking National Office

Mitt Romney (R) – Nominee for President
Mitt Romney’s Plans for Planned Parenthood

Paul Ryan (R) – Nominee for Vice President
Paul Ryan and the Republican problem with women

Candidates/Elected Officials By State

ALABAMA

Robert J. Bentley (R) – Governor
State of Alabama Harrasses and Seeks to Close Abortion Clinic, While Women Die Needlessly in Childbirth

Jefferson Sessions (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Richard Shelby (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

ALASKA

Wes Keller (R) – Alaska State Legislature
Wes Keller, Alaska GOP Lawmaker, Blocks Girl Scouts Resolution Over Alleged Planned Parenthood Ties

Lisa Murkowski (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

ARIZONA

Jan Brewer (R) – Governor
Governor Jan Brewer Signs Arizona’s Extreme New Abortion Law

Trent Franks (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Hearing for D.C. Abortion Bill Set for Next Week
GOP Happy With Attempted D.C. Abortion Ban

Jack Harper (R) – Arizona State Legislature
Arizona Woman Emails Representative Jack Harper; Harper Calls Her “Baby-Killer”

Jon Kyl (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Debbie Lesko (R) – Arizona State Legislature
Contraception bill to be revived in amended form

John McCain (R) – U.S. Senate
John McCain: ‘War on Women’ is ‘Imaginary,’ ‘Conjured by Democrats’
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Terri Proud (R) – Arizona State Legislature
Arizona Lawmaker: Women Should ‘Watch An Abortion Being Performed’ Prior To Having It

ARKANSAS

John Boozman (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

CALIFORNIA

COLORADO

CONNECTICUT

DELAWARE

FLORIDA

Kathleen Passidomo (R) – Florida State Legislature
FL GOP Rep. Says 11-Year-Old Was Gang Raped ‘Because She Was Dressed Like A 21 Year-Old Prostitute’

Marco Rubio (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Allen West (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Allen West: Liberal Women Are ‘Neutering American Men’

GEORGIA

Saxby Chambliss (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Terry Engand (R) – Georgia State Legislature
Georgia Republican Compares Women to Cows, Pigs, And Chickens

Bobby Franklin (R) – George State Legislature
Georgia State Lawmaker Seeks To Redefine Rape Victims As ‘Accusers’

John Isakson (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Doug McKillip (R) – George State Legislature
Georgia “Fetal Pain” Author OK with Forcing Women into C-Sections for Unviable Pregnancies

HAWAII

IDAHO

Michael Crapo (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

James Risch (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Chuck Winder (R) – Idaho State Legislature
Chuck Winder, Idaho Lawmaker, Suggests Women Use Rape As Excuse For Abortions

ILLINOIS

INDIANA

Daniel Coats (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Mike Pence (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Mike Pence’s war on Planned Parenthood

Eric Turner (R) – Indiana State Legislature
Indiana Bill Would Force Doctors To Tell Women That Having An Abortion May Lead To Breast Cancer

IOWA

Charles Grassley (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Steve King (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Steve King Worries Free Birth Control Will Make Us A “Dying Civilization”
Rep. Steve King: “Planned Parenthood Is Invested in Promiscuity”

KANSAS

Lance Kizner (R) – Kansas State Legislature
Kansas House votes to Send anti-abortion bill to the Senate

Jerry Moran (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Pat Roberts (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

KENTUCKY

Joe Bowen (R) – Kentucky State Legislature
Anti-Abortion Bill Voted Down in House Committee

Mitch McDonnell (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Rand Paul (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
DC Budget autonomy bill pulled after Rand Paul adds amendments on guns, abortion, unions

LOUISIANA

David Vitter (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

MAINE

Susan Collins (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

MARYLAND

MASSACHUSETTS

Scott Brown (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

MICHIGAN

Gail Haines (R) – Michigan State Legislature
Michigan Anti-Abortion Bill, ‘Most Extreme in the Country’, Barrels Through State House

Pete Hoekstra (R) – Candidate for U.S. Senate
Pete Hoekstra On Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: ‘That Thing Is A Nuisance’

Bruce Rendon (R) – Michigan State Legislature
Michigan’s Surprise Anti-Abortion Blitz

Mike Shirley (R) – Michigan State Legislature
Michigan Anti-Abortion Bill, ‘Most Extreme in the Country’, Barrels Through State House

Jim Stamas (R) – Michigan State Legislature
Lawmakers barred from speaking after “vagina” comment

MINNESOTA

MISSISSIPPI

Phil Bryant – (R) Governor
Phil Bryant, Mississippi Governor: Democrats’ ‘One Mission in Life is to Abort Children’

Thad Cochran (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Robert Wicker (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

MISSOURI

Todd Akin (R) – U.S. House of Representatives, candidate for U.S. Senate
Planned Parenthood funding a final obstacle in shutdown negotiations
Todd Akin, GOP Senate candidate: ‘Legitimate rape’ rarely causes pregnancy

Roy Blunt (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

MONTANA

Krayton Kearns (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
TEA Party Legislator: Birth Control is “Death Nail in Coffin of our Republic”

Denny Rehberg (R) – U.S. House of Representatives, candidate for U.S. Senate
Support Tester against Rehberg’s extremism

NEBRASKA

Mike Johanns (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act

NEVADA

Dean Heller (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Kelly Ayotte (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

NEW JERSEY

Christopher Smith (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Representative Chris Smith Redefines Rape

NEW MEXICO

NEW YORK

Ann Marie Buerkle (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Buerkle Defends Vote to Cut Planned Parenthood Funding

Ruben Diaz (D) – New York State Legislature
New York Democrat Compares Pro-Choice Advocate to Hitler, “Murderers, Assassins, and Criminals”

NORTH CAROLINA

Richard Burr (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

NORTH DAKOTA

Rick Berg (R) – U.S. House of Representatives, Candidate for U.S. Senate
GOP Senate Candidate Supported Life Sentences For Rape Victims Who Obtain Abortions

OHIO

Ron Amstutz (R) – Ohio State Legislature
House Republicans move to de-fund Planned Parenthood in Ohio

John Boehner (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Boehner shoots down bipartisan call to vote on Senate’s domestic violence bill

Josh Mandel (R) – State Treasurer, candidate for U.S. Senate
Candidate Questionnaire for Cincinnati Right to Life

Robert Portman (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Kristina Roegner (R) – Ohio State Legislature
House Republicans move to de-fund Planned Parenthood in Ohio

Cliff Rosenberger (R) – Ohio State Legislature
House Republicans move to de-fund Planned Parenthood in Ohio

OKLAHOMA

Thomas Coburn (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

James Inhofe (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

OREGON

PENNSYLVANIA

Bob Casey (D) – U.S. Senate
Casey votes against birth control mandate, Pennsylvania senator breaks with Obama, Democratic Party

Tom Corbett (R) – Governor
Gov. Tom Corbett on pre-abortion ultrasounds: ‘Close your eyes’

Mike Fitzpatrick (R) – U.S. House of Representatives
Mike Fitzpatrick has taken every possible opportunity to vote against reproductive choice

Patrick Toomey (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH CAROLINA

James DeMint (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Lindsey Graham (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Nikki Haley (R) – Governor
Haley claims women ‘don’t care about contraception’

SOUTH DAKOTA

John Thune (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

TENNESSEE

Lamar Alexander (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Bob Corker (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Matthew Hill (R) – Tennessee State Legislature
Tennessee Bill May Expose Identities Of Women Seeking Abortions

TEXAS

John Cornyn (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Rick Perry (R) – Governor
Texas Loses Entire Women’s Health Program Over Planned Parenthood Law

UTAH

Orrin Hatch (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Mike Lee (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women A
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

VERMONT

VIRGINIA

Bob McConnell (R) – Governor
Bob McDonnell, Virginia Governor: ‘War On Women’ Is ‘Political Theater’

William Howell (R) – Virginia State Legislature
VA Speaker And Ex-ALEC Chair Berates Woman — ‘I’m Not Speaking In Little Enough Words For You To Understand’

WEST VIRGINIA

WISCONSIN

Glenn Grothman (R) – Wisconsin State Legislature
Wisconsin State Senator Says Women Are Paid Less Because ‘Money Is More Important For Men’

Ron Johnson (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Don Pridemore (R) – Wisconsin State Legislature
Wisconsin GOP Legislators Go After Single Mothers

WYOMING

John Barrasso (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Michael Enzi (R) – U.S. Senate
Voted Against Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Voted to block advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Last Updated: 9/4/2012.


1 Comment

The 112th Congress’ Worst Moments for Women

7 Aug 2012

By now we are all well aware that the 112th Congress left a lot to be desired in terms of actual legislating and leadership.  By last count, the 112th sent only 54 bills to the President, 14 of which were to rename post offices (the latter of which is ironic since one of the many items this Congress failed to do was come up with a plan to restructure the struggling U.S. Postal Service). They also failed to take any action on the economy (despite having the President’s proposed jobs plan in their laps since last year) and failed to come up with a federal response plan to the worst drought this nation has seen since the Dust Bowl.

So what did the 112th Congress spend their time doing?  Three things, actually: trying to block the Affordable Care Act, obsessing about birth control coverage, and trying to limit abortion rights.  And on those three items, the 112th was very busy.  How busy? Check out our list of this Congress’ 10 Worst Actions for American Woman and judge for yourself.

The all-male birth control panel at a House hearing earlier this year. (Photo Courtesy ThinkProgress.org)

  1. The All-Male Birth Control Panel. – Who can forget this? It was the picture that summarized the War on Women for many of us: the so-called panel of “experts” called in to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s hearings on the health care birth control mandate.  Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) invited only male members of clergy to testify as to the mandate’s implications (and refused a request from the Democrats to include Georgetown student Sandra Fluke) in February 2012.  Democratic female lawmakers called foul. Some even walked out of the hearings in protest. Photos of the hearing went viral, enraging women from coast to coast and sending political tongues wagging. For advocates of reproductive rights, the panel was visceral proof that Congress wanted to make laws governing the reproductive options available to women…without regard for or input from women.  For their part, Rep. Issa and his House GOP colleagues seemed surprised that anyone would see anything wrong with holding a hearing about female contraceptives and leaving out females.  Perhaps they lack the insight of Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) sixteen year old grandson, who saw the now-infamous photo of the panel and instantly sussed out the problem: “It’s all dudes.”
  1. The House strips down VAWA, leading to a Congressional stalemate on the bill. – Question: When did protecting women from domestic violence become a partisan issue? Answer: In 2012. The 112th Congress managed to take one of the few non-partisan legislative issues of the past twenty years, an Act that passed Congress overwhelmingly in 1994, and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, and turn into a partisan mess that revealed a shocking lack of concern for the women facing domestic violence. In April, female Republican Senators joined with Senate Democrats to pass S. 1925, a bill which reauthorized the Act and expanded its protections to include immigrants, LGBT persons, and Native American women. No-brainers, right? Wrong.  After a highly charged debate throughout which there was much finger pointing as to just which party hated women more, the House passed a bill that reauthorized VAWA without the Senate’s expansions. In a contentious election year, wherein both parties typically don’t see past the end of the news cycle, reconciliation of the two bills was doomed and Congress set about passing more pressing legislation, namely renaming post offices.
  1. Rep. Mike Kelly compares mandatory birth control coverage to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. – In a moment of stunning short-sightedness, Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) declared that August 1, 2012, the first day that insurers were required to cover birth control for American woman, would be remembered as an “attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy,” along with December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001.  We realize that Rep. Kelly is a little past the demographic for Sesame Street but is it too much to hope that a sitting member of the U.S. Congress has grasped the concept of the “one of these things is not like the others” game?  Evidently not.  Senator (and World War II Vet) Daniel Inouye (D-HI) later scolded Kelly’s comparison as “complete nonsense.”  We could not agree more.
  1. House holds 33 symbolic votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. –  The American people have been demanding that Congress do something – anything – about the economy, about jobs, about infrastructure, about the financial services industry, about a whole lot of urgent issues facing the country today. So what did they do? Well, in the case of the GOP-led House of Representatives, they voted 33 times to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act over the past year and half. Even though none of bills repealing the law would go anywhere in the Senate and would certainly be vetoed by the President. Even though the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act in July 2012. Even though the Act is designed to provide coverage for 30 million uninsured Americans. Even though the Act ends certain egregious insurance industry practices such as charging higher premiums to women and refusing to cover pre-existing conditions.  Several polls have shown that public opinion has shifted on the Affordable Care Act, with the majority of Americans now supporting government role in providing access to health care coverage. Does that shift mean that these legislators will give up their mission to repeal the ACA? Not likely according to Rep. Marsha Blackmun (R-TN), who said, after the latest symbolic vote, “We’re going to keep at it until we get this legislation off the books.”
  1. The Blunt Amendment tries to mix contraception coverage with highway funding, at women’s expense. When we said that the 112th Congress obsessed about birth control, we’re not exaggerating. Republicans in the 112th found a way to voice their displeasure at mandatory contraception coverage in the unlikeliest of legislative conversations, even highway construction. In February 2012, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) added an amendment to a highway bill that would have not only allowed all employers to block contraception coverage for employees due to moral objections but would them to block coverage of any health service required by the 2010 health-care law. Pandora’s Box much, Senator?  The vote to kill the amendment ultimately succeeded but the vote was a terrifyingly close 51-48, largely along party lines, though three Democrats supported the amendment, and one Republican voted against it. It should be noted that the sole Republican who voted against the Blunt Amendment was Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who is retiring from the Senate.
  1. Senate blocks advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act. – We’ve heard it time and time again; American women earn, on average, 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Minority women earn even less. And despite the insistence of some that this is discrepancy is solely due to all that time women take off to raise babies, the real statistics tell a different story. The fact is gender discrimination is still a major factor in the wage gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced in 2011 in both houses of Congress would have required employers to demonstrate that salary differences between men and women doing the same work are not gender-related. it would also haves prohibited employers from retaliating against workers who compare salary information with their coworkers for comparison.  Opponents of the bill argued that the existing Equal Pay and Civil Rights Acts adequately protected women from gender wage discrimination and that the Paycheck Fairness Act would only result in “unnecessary litigation.” The Paycheck Fairness Act failed to gather the necessary votes to advance. All Senate Republicans, including female Republican Senators who had supported early drafts of the bill, voted against it. That made us wonder, what would happen if American taxpayers tried to pay female lawmakers 77% of what male lawmakers make? Would they support paycheck fairness then?
  1. Senator Mike Lee adds D.C. anti-abortion amendment to cyber-security bill.  Just hours after a similar bill restricting abortions in the District of Columbia failed to pass in the House, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) resurrected the proposal and attached it to a completely unrelated cyber-security bill in the Senate. The proposal, which aimed to ban abortions in D.C. after the 20th week of pregnancy without providing exceptions for the health of the mother, is based a now-disputed study on fetal pain.  Abortion opponents won’t let go of the study, especially after having success in passing statewide bans such as one in Arizona. In fact, the House version of the bill was backed by PReNDA author Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who has vowed to bring up the bill again in the next session of Congress.  As for the cyber-security bill, like most bills branded with abortion regulations, it proved radioactive and failed to pass, adding one more item to the list of issues the 112th failed to resolve.
  1. Senator Rand Paul plays anti-abortion politics with flood relief bill. – In what is perhaps the clearest example of why Congress spends a great deal of time getting nothing done, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is apparently trying to build his career by stalling legislation. In June 2012, Paul attempted to derail flood insurance legislation that was expected to pass the Senate easily (on the eve of flood and hurricane season, no less) by demanding that the Senate vote on whether life began at conception as part of the bill’s review. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) called the request ridiculous, and postponed the vote on the bill, rather than accede to Paul’s demand.  The Senate was eventually able to negotiate a resolution to the flood insurance bill by combining it with student loan legislation but Paul is undeterred. His other obstructions include attaching anti-union clauses and gun rights provisions to foreign policy legislation and trying to force in an amendment repealing the contraception insurance coverage requirement by inserting it into federal highway legislation.   Other lawmakers are beginning to emulate these tactics, increasing the number of instances where politicians try to earn their political  bona fides by preventing Congress from getting anything done.
  1. Denny Rehberg vs. Women’s Healthcare. – In a Congress where flip-flopping and shifting allegiances can be the rule and not the exception, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) stands out as remarkably consistent. Unfortunately for us, he’s consistent on blocking women’s access to affordable health services. For two years in a row, in his role as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Rehberg submitted a budget that eliminates funding to Planned Parenthood and to the Title X family planning programs that provide health care access to nearly five million low-income women every year. Do we have to say yet again that federal law already prevents taxpayer funds from funding abortion services?  So in cutting funds to these programs, Rehberg is really advocating eliminating badly needed preventative health care, such as cancer screenings, to low-income women? In the 2013 budget, Rehberg added provision that would let all employers block contraception coverage from employees for “moral objections” even though the birth control mandate already allows this exemption for religious organizations. Basically, this is Rehberg doing a mulligan on the failed Blunt Amendment (see Item 5 on this list).
  1. Rep. Trent Franks pushes unenforceable PReNDA. – In May 2012, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), one of the House’s most prominent anti-abortion legislators, introduced the Prenatal Discrimination Act, to ban “sex-selective abortions” – the practice wherein women choose to terminate pregnancies because they are carrying female fetuses.  Call us cynical but we could not help but be perplexed when Franks and his House GOP colleagues touted this bill as civil rights legislation, given the party’s typical insistence that not only are existing civil rights laws more than adequate, but that liberals should not be so quick to assume that gender discrimination is widespread. Indeed, they argued that gender discrimination in U.S. abortions was widespread, a claim not backed up by fact.  Put simply, PReNDA was designed to put more legal obstacles between women and abortion services. Under the law medical professionals would be required to report “suspected” discriminatory abortions or face possible criminal charges. The legislation would also allow a woman’s partner or parents to sue an abortion provider if they suspect she got an abortion because of the fetus’ gender. The vagueness of the law would have resulted in any woman terminating the pregnancy where the fetus turned out to be female to be suspect. The chilling effect of the law on women’s health service providers would have been immeasurable. Women’s rights groups including Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights joined with  medical associations and civil rights groups in opposing this bill, which failed to get the required two-thirds majority to pass.  It only fell short by 30 votes, though, something voters who support reproductive rights need to remember when they go to the polls this November.