WASHINGTON (AP) — An early skirmish for women’s votes in 2012 has broken out in the House — among women. A prominent Democrat fired the first shot by claiming that majority Republicans are waging a “war on women.” And now, Republican women are returning fire by raising their profiles, making clear what they stand for and, implicitly, who they are not: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

Neither of the GOP’s most visible women rated a mention by a series of House Republican women who on Tuesday defended their party against Democrats. Bachmann, a three-term congresswoman, presidential candidate and chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus, was not among the speakers on the House floor.

Those who did described themselves as every-women who run businesses, farms and families and wove their life stories into a broader narrative designed to help the GOP hang onto its gains among females in the 2010 elections.

“The Republican agenda is indeed pro-woman,” said freshmen Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. “It is pro-woman because it is pro-small business, pro-entrepreneur, pro-family and pro-economic growth.”

Democrats, reluctant to cede their advantage among a powerful constituency, have aggressively framed the Republican agenda as an affront to the nation’s women.

Topping their list of offenders is the GOP plan to restructure government health care for seniors. The proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program would punish women disproportionately, Democrats say, because women live longer than men. GOP efforts to strip President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul of money for Planned Parenthood clinics as long as they pay for abortions are anti-women as well, Democrats argue. They say the same about the Republicans’ drive to undermine collective bargaining rights, pointing out, for example, that women comprise nearly three-quarters of the American Federation of Teachers’ 1.5 million members.

“The war on women that the Republicans have been waging since they took over the House, I think, is going to not only restore but possibly help us exceed the president’s margin of victory in the next election,” Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast last month.

For Republicans and GOP women in particular, those were fighting words aimed at the very constituency in which the GOP’s message had shown some new resonance.

In political terms, the story of the Republican woman is the tale of a slow climb up the rungs of power through the ranks of a party overwhelmingly dominated by white males. Even after the 2010 elections put Republicans back in control of the House with a record nine new GOP women, men still dominate the party’s ranks, its leadership and its committee chairmanships. Of 75 women now serving in the House, 24 are Republicans in a chamber the party controls 240-193. Only one of those 24 GOP women, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, chairs a full committee.

But the story is peppered with progress in recent years. Palin became the first woman on a GOP presidential ticket when Sen. John McCain chose her to be his running mate in 2008. Two years later, exit polls show that women split almost dead even between Republican and Democratic congressional candidates and helped drive the GOP into the House majority. And now, the Republican field of presidential hopefuls includes Bachmann, the only woman among eight GOP candidates. Palin, too, is a valuable draw of cash and passion for a party trying to deny President Barack Obama a second term.

But Palin’s and Bachmann’s rises have been fueled by their own, distinct appeals as a former governor and member of Congress, respectively. But they also both have polarizing styles and credibility problems rooted in their tendencies to whiff on historic and other facts.

For the House Republican women speaking Tuesday night, telling their own stories on national television was a chance to raise their profiles apart from Palin and Bachmann.

“I think it’s important that people see that there is a broad spectrum of Republican women serving in Congress,” said Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking GOP woman in the House as vice chairwoman of the Republican conference.

The main impetus for the Tuesday night speech-fest, they said, was Wasserman Schultz’s charge that the GOP agenda was “anti-women.”

“There’s been some misconception about who are the Republican women,” said Florida Rep. Sandy Adams, who as a single mother put herself and her daughter through college and went on to serve 17 years as a deputy sheriff in the Orange County.

“There have been some comments made about us,” Adams added. “We are responding. We are not attacking women; we are women.”

To some, it’s an entirely symbolic effort to close the gender gap that GOP candidates will be able to use during the election campaign next year. And the proof of being pro-family or pro-women is in the policy these lawmakers support — just like their male colleagues.

“The credibility of having done this event probably matters more electorally than the content of what they say,” said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

As for Wasserman Schultz’ “anti-women” war cry, Ros-Lehtinen brushes it off as the words of a new political committee chairwoman looking to build support.

“She’s got to fire up her base,” Ros-Lehtinen said, describing Wasserman Schultz as a close friend. “In her heart of hearts, Debbie knows that the Republican Party is not anti-woman.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (78)
  1. Sam I am says:

    Wow WCCO could you have your nose any farther up the Democrats rear end.

    Tatlk about the most biased media in the Twin Cities.

    1. Tom says:

      @ Sam I am

      So what exactly in that report isn’t true?

    2. RedTipper says:

      Sam — do ya think that maybe you are one of the most uniformed and biased right posters around these parts?
      just asking as we all see ya for what you are …. imagine now with elementary school done for the season we will see a lot more of you. lol

      BTW – you now are in 3rd grade next year if all went well for you I believe, no?
      Congrats on passing 2nd grade ! 😉

      1. Elliott Missy says:

        How do you know Sam wears uniforms?

    3. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

      From all the articles I’ve read on this site, they are the opposite. They eat and drink elephant feces.

    4. See BS says:

      The most awful things you hear about women in these comment sections are about Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

      And then they remove posts about the DFL.

      1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

        Ever think there’s nothing good to say about those two?

        1. See BS says:

          They are more attractive than most elected women in our government.

          1. Beer Guzzling Redneck says:

            Sarah Palin – yes.

            Janet Reno is better looking than Michele Bachmann. I’d sooner watch Aretha Franklin showering with Rosie O’Donnell…

            1. See BS says:

              Michelle Bachman is attractive for someone in her 50’s.

              Janet Reno looks like Bill Gates!

              1. Beer Guzzling Redneck says:

                No she is not attractive. There is nothing attractive about her.

                Hand over your straight man’s card. You’ve failed the litmus test.

    5. What??? says:

      Sam I am
      If you did not notice this was not from WCCO but from the AP. Hence why before the story it has (AP). Thanks for playing but you did not win a teddy bear.

    6. Mark Foley says:

      Most GOP & T-Baggers like young boys anyhow.

  2. Sookie says:

    Of course the GOP loves women. Just as long as they’re Stepford tyle.

    1. Tom says:

      @ Sookie

      Very True!

      1. Come on says:

        No we like them barefoot and pregnant.

        1. Just Seychelling says:

          There is the other kind the GOP like. The cerebrally deficient but perfectly coiffed, photogenic types that they can have run for office, IE Palin, O’Donnell and our very own Bachmann.

        2. Tom says:

          @ Come on

          That is also very true!

    2. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

      They love women, but they cheat with other men for some reason. A disturbing trend, IMHO.

  3. Leslie says:

    Please compare the number of republican women governors to the number of demacratic women governors and then tell me who walks the walk.

    1. Just asking says:

      But is that not equality? Could it be that there is more of one party than the other because in those particular races, the person perceived to be the better candidate won, regardless of party lines?

    2. Tom says:

      @ Leslie

      Right now there is Nick Haley but she is technically one of the Tea Parties pride and joy and she is also a nut job.

      And you have the Gov from AZ (can’t remember her name) and she is another favorite of the Tea Party and she is also nuts

      So if there are more list them ! And if they are the Pride and Joy of the Tea Party that is nothing to write home about..

      1. Leslie says:

        South Carolina, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Sorry you don’t know more so you can make an educated statement other than bad tea party.

        1. Fern says:

          Such a small limited fact to make a claim. Any of these women minority? Maybe even more importantly, has any of these governors done anything of note other than get elected? Have their states made dramatic leaps in some measurable statistic?

          1. Naomi says:

            That doesn’t even deserve a response.

            1. Village Idiot says:

              But you did

          2. Sinclair says:

            Fern, sounds like you are sexually frustrated

            1. Fern says:

              Don’t wear out your hand

        2. Tom says:

          @ Leslie

          Well knowing 2 out of 4 is better than none at all. Using the word “bad” to describe the Tea Party is being much to nice. I wouldn’t call someone dressing up like Paul Revere and taping tea bags to their hats “bad” more like nutty!

          And by the way I don’t know why you mentioned the states because 2 of those states are where those two woman that I mentioned are from. Mrs. Haley from South Carolina, and Jan Brewer from AZ. Because when you mention the 4 states above in your post, it looks like you answering my question where there are more Woman GOP / Tea Party Gov. after I mentioned those 2.

  4. Obama defeats Bachman says:

    Obama vs Bachman is the easist win ever for Obama. Someone else once said it best, the campaign can be one with two simple sentences:

    Obama: “I am not a witch”

    *Obama points at Bachman*

    “Can you really be sure about her?”

    And Obama wins in a landslide!!!

    1. huh? says:

      I don’t understand the concept?

    2. Renee says:

      I agree, I hope so, Because Sorry I do not like Bachman. She seems to be rude because of her past comments shes made in the past.

    3. Renee says:

      I agree and let’s hope.

  5. jan says:

    I am a fiscal conservative but find it almost impossible to support Republicans because they want to force women to have babies whether or not they want to become a parent. In my opinion it’s irresponsible to keep having babies when you can’t afford to take care of them. Some women have a baby every year and stay on welfare for life and their children end up in the same mess. Sadly, very often the father is unknown or just takes off and leaves the mother and the government to raise the child.

    1. GOP is a Joke says:

      Unfortunately the paradigm has shifted and being republican has nothing to do with being conservative anymore. All republicans nowadays (bachman included) are filthy neo-cons who only want to puch their moral agenda on the rest of society.

      Republicans are a joke and no longer represent the true conservatives.

      1. Leo says:

        Do you know what a conservative is? Bachman is a conservative first republican second. You really don’t know what your talking about.

        1. GOP is a Joke says:

          Unfortunately Leo….I do. The problem stems from the fact you dont however!!!

          THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS REPUBLICAN SECOND!!!! If that is the case, why does she not run as an independant? Why seek out the GOP nomination? Because she suckles at the republican teat just like every other canidate to fund their race. And are you dumb enought to think there are no strings attached with that GOP money she recieves? And when she starts more debates and issues come up like abortion or stem cells, gay marriage….you think she’s going to take the conservative approach and let individual states decide and lobby for reduced government interference in our medical decision and research???? LOLOLOLOL

          Honestly…think before you speak. You sound ridiculous kid.

          1. Leo says:

            ah, gay marriage is what your rant was about. I get it. that issue will be decided by the people.

            1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

              It isn’t up to the people to decide if being gay is right or wrong.

            2. GOP is a Joke says:

              So thats what you took away from my post…that this is about gay marriage?

              Wow…you really are one of the dumbest kids i’ve met on here. Go re-read it junior, analize what you read…then try to respond in a semi-intellegent manner….that is if you actually have a response…my point was pretty clear.

              LOLOLOL…you are kinda cute with your ignronce. “bachman is a conservative first and a republican second”…..LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

            3. Umm...OK? says:

              Acutally, you pretty obviously dont get it Leo. You really dont know what you are talking about. You responce to that guy didnt make one once of sense. Good luck with the rest of your high school career, its going to be a challange for you!!

            4. Tom says:

              @ leo:

              Well since you brought up the gay issue. Why should someone like you get to decide who does and does not walk down the aisle. Are you that INSECURE about your marriage, etc, that you need to worry about gay marriage.

              And by the way what GOP is a joke says is true!

          2. @GOP is a Joke says:

            I’m inclined to think you sound ridiculous, with your caps lock, redundant punctuation, and insistence that you know what you’re talking about. I think you might actually be the kid.

        2. theyareallfullofit says:

          Neither does Bachman I hear her but nothing comes out. What is her plan does she have one or is she going to wing it. Than there is Palin well I will not get started. Don’t worry I don’t like the dems much better. Yep it really is going to be a hard election for me come 2012 and not matter which party says what they both lie.

          I love coming here it makes my day watching all of you bicker amongst yourselves not realizing that both parties are hurting WE THE PEOPLE and not one of them has any excuses for themselves on where this country is today. I know I will blame my five year old granddaughter and that really makes no sense at all and neither does all of THESE POLITICIANS and what they stand for because its not for me or my family.

    2. Tom says:

      @ Jan

      I am very liberal ! That being said I do agree with what you just said.

    3. Johnathon says:

      Maybe you should get to know they guy so you know who the father is.

    4. Cary says:

      No one can force you to do anything. Those having a baby every year are on welfare and receiving food stamps. They tend to vote for the Democratic Party, You know the Party of tax the rich to pay for the lazy ass people that won’t work.

    5. Doug T says:

      Having babies is a by-product of having sex… How does the GOP force women to have sex? These women choose to have sex – “its their biological right” – If they do not need/want babies – or just find them inconvenient perhaps they should think about that before having sex….And then don’t do it…..Its not always easy to act like a intelligent fully aware human – and I guess that is what the democrats want – stupid, helpless, not responsible, dependent semi-humans – so democrat’s can keep getting elected..

      Show up with some smart, successful, independent educated women – like Michelle Bachmann and the lefties all have a hissy fit and go into spasms…

      1. Tom says:

        @ Doug T

        First thanks for clarify for the rest of us that having babies is a by-product having sex . I don’t know where you are getting the idea that we have said that the GOP force woman to have sex. That in it self is a stupid question. What we are saying that if a woman decides to have an abortion because either they choose to or for medical reason that decision shoudl be between the woman and her dr and or the person she sees at another clinic she goes to. Just because people like you think that the only time a couple should want sex is when they want too have another child , if that is what you believe then that is your busniess, but don’t try to shove your beliefs on everybody else.

        And by the way if you think that it is only Dems who want woman babies regardless of their economic situation, well I hate to burst your bubble so does the catholic church, they want woman to keep babies whether they can afford to have the baby or not.

        And for you to call Bachmann smart, successful, independent educated then that does say alot! And if you think that she is that smart then you should have encouraged her to accept that debate challenge from that 16 year old high school student from a month agi.

        1. Taxed enough says:

          Oh Tom Tom Tom, you are so wrong about the Catholic Church wanting the women to keep their babies. They want the women who can not afford their babies to think about the option of adoption instead of killing one of God’s great creations. I don’t want to hear from all you non-believers out there either. God is great and God is good and he will do the judging in the end.

          1. Beer Guzzling Redneck says:

            “God is great and God is good and he will do the judging in the end.

            I think I just heard Charlie Brown’s teacher…

            mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa mwaaaaaaaa

          2. What??? says:

            @ Taxed
            Well us “non believers never wanted to hear from you in the first place yet there you are yelling at the top of your lungs for something that you believe. I am so glad laws are not based on your belief or this world would be a sad and simple minded place.
            I got a brain buster for all you that believe that life begins at the moment of conception. If you do believe this then why were all of morons crying about Obama not being American then? It was proven that he was conceived in Hawaii as his mother and father lived there and it was proven that a doctor in the state said his mom was pregers. Would that not be proof enough since life starts at conception. OMG THAT MAKES TOO MUCH SENSE AND YOUR HEAD JUST BLEW UP!!!!
            Like I said, simple minded people that never look at technicalities and still for some reason believe that you are intelligent. So many hypocrisies.

      2. Tom says:

        @ Doug T

        For you to say that only Dems want woman to keep having babies, i hate to burst your bubble so does the catholic church.

        And for you to claim that Bachmann is smart, successful, independent educated woman, that does say alot.

        1. Alan says:

          Well Bachman has won a few elections, has a doctorate degree,, and , uhm. Can’t think how someone who sucks up to people for votes could ever be considered independent. Consider that she is anti government and spending money yet takes farm subsidies and took money for foster children. Thus she does a great job of speaking out of both sides of her mouth when her foot is not in it.

  6. hmm says:

    I would never vote for Palin or Bachman. Give us a quality woman to vote for and I will be all over her.

    1. Jack says:

      whats your definition of a ‘quality woman’?

      1. me says:

        A Pant suited cankle monster that looks the other way when her husband cheats on her because it’s more politically advantageous to do so. She’d vote for that monstrosity in a heartbeat.

    2. Aint Sexism Grand says:

      Hmm do tell us why you would not vote for Palin or Bachman? What are their policies and views that you oppose? How about Hillary Clinton? Is she a “quality woman”? What policies of Clintons are you against? If you are unable to discuss the pilicies of any of the above……you would be a moron liberal who sucks the Kool Aid down and watches MSNB while pleasing yourself in your mothers basement……Sexism is so “cool”……

      1. Pat Siveaggresive says:

        Palin has no policies. Her political vocabulary consists of pre-set verbaige such as American, patriotic, lame stream media, Chrisitan, conservative. No critical thinking what so ever.

        Bachmann does have ideas and they’re terrible. No funding of school nurses, light bulb options, investigiating her fellow representatives for un-American activites.

        If you want the GOP to have a woman worth voting for then you need to do all you can to get Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Olympia Snowe to run. Until then, as long as nothing but femots are offered up, you’ll get few votes.

      2. Polishing peter says:

        Aint Sexism Grand
        If you want to be taken seriously on a blog maybe instead of just bashing others for not adding enough info to the ideas that they are sharing you should ask a question without insulting. If you cannot do this than maybe you are the moron GOP that just sits around and watches FOX news while you think of new ways to protest gays and abortion. You may also want to up the dosage of the meds you are on and use a dictionary as hmm did not have 1 sexist comment in the post that was left. There is nothing sexist saying that Palin and Bachman are not “quality” women, that is an opinion and is shared by people far and wide. So angry and misinformed at the same time, I can kind of see why you would be mad at people pleasing themselves. The world view that you show there sounds like you are too busy hating on people to ever have a little fun for yourself.

  7. Kat Y says:

    It is getting sadder by the day as my party looks more and more like the dysfunctional DFL by the minute.
    I won’t vote for Palin, not a chance I’d even consider Bachmann even as a nominee for Little League President so she’s out and the rest ….. doubtful as it stands now.
    I’m tempted to vote for anything besides the 2 female flukes but HTG – I may not in good conscience vote. Period. That may turn into a “vote” for the DFL or a minus 1 GOP. Same with many I know – they stating the same.
    GOP – you need to wake up, follow a reasonable and civil policy and earn the votes. If you just assuming they are yours you will be sadly mistaken. Wake up

  8. Kevin says:

    Let the attachks on Women begin! All powerful women are torn apart by the lliberal media…..Clinton….Palin…..Bachman’s turn is next…..but hey if your a female just sit back….sip the kool aid and enjoy the trashing! N.O.W is really a joke……I love sitting back and wathcing women with a glazed over look…..walking in line…..as the media trashes those that have climbed the politiacl ladder…….what did Obami say during his campaign? Clinton was the most dangerous woman in the US…..but then after trashing her as a female….he places her in the #3 seat…..youve come along way baby!!!!!!!!

    1. Me says:

      Power? What power does Palin have? She’s an ordinary citizen. Oh, wait, I see your “Obami” now. You’re just a bigot. No need for me to waste my time on you.

  9. TRUTH says:

    This country has went to hell ever since woman were allowed to vote!

  10. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    So if a woman isn’t pro choice and is unattractive…she must not be a woman. It is just like Blacks cannot be in their right mind and be Conservative…I guess according to the media women who are not Liberal just are not in their right minds. (Gotta love Rep Sheila Jackson Lee…informing us about the Christian terrorists in our midst…a great Liberal woman)

  11. Murph says:

    Son : Dad my fiance’s parents are Republican,will she grow up to be a nut case too and bedevil me?That depends son! On what Dad? Well son,there are two types of republicans,the snooty ,rich ones and the redneck, poor ones.Son: Oh well then she may be ok,her parents aren’t rich! Dad; Hold on a minute there son! Son; But dad you said there were two types.Correct son he replied.But the rich ,snootly bride will bedevil you every day of your married life.The redneck one will just ask you to vote republican and you will and live peacefully together. The catch is that sooner or later the redneck one will want to have sex with you.Since, she doesn’t have a choice between the cook,the butler,the pool man or the chauffer and you! and I’m sorry kid but her face could freeze an alligator in mid chomp!

  12. kevin says:

    Murfh there are two types of political women
    Democrat= ugly
    republican= beautiful
    Murph, which would you prefer? look them up.

    1. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

      Wait. Look at the picture at the top of this article and tell me with a straight face that Michele Bachmann is beautiful.

      Your hetero man card will need to be surrendered.

    2. Nelson says:

      What good are they if they are brainless. Of course perhaps the brainless fits as a description for you kevin?

  13. TW says:

    Where’s Bella Abzug and Molly Yard when you need them? Now they had substance and plainness going for them.

  14. Murph says:

    Uh,I looked them over pretty good.The GOP babes are a bit too beefy and wide for me! The DEM ones are leaner,but not as mean. But didn’t have much luck there.so there was one SOUTHERN redneck GOP’er that I made a play for and she smiled at me. So, I gave her a compliment and next thing you know,hanky panky, Spanky! I left her there at the motel with a big grin on her face.So I said to her once again…….. “Hey,nice tooth” !!

  15. Taxed enough says:

    You all are just a bunch of MALE CHAVONIST PIGS!!!

  16. red says:

    Bachman- aka Psycho B—ch

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      Nazis used to accuse dissenters of having mental problems, and castrated people to scare anyone who opposed them.

      Psycho-babble is Nazism

  17. Ignorance must be bliss! says:

    Just like a GOP, mad at someone for sharing an opinion that is not the same as they have. I did not know that GOPers were that angry against pleasing yourself, I mean I knew they cry when they hear a swear word but are we not getting a little “old testament” on this? The old saying goes, those who cannot do teach, and those who cannot teach criticize. Proving the point further is someone who tries to teach and criticize at the same time and fail both as you do wonderfully here. There is nothing sexist about hmm saying that there is no woman out there right now for the GOP that is a quality candidate. This is an opinion and has been said about politicians regardless of the gender. Your anger about this just makes you look bitter and to be blunt, a cry baby. Things are not said exactly how you want them to be so you cry and stomp your feet throwing your little hissy fit. Just fits right in with the hypocrisy that is known as the Republican party. Again my name is proven 100% and thank you for that.

  18. edna j says:

    its my abortion and i want it now
    stop messing with my freedoms

  19. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    what about your baby’s freedoms…try birth control and if you don’t want a baby, their are thousands of adoptive parents

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