Aug. 23, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Hill Women Play Starring Role in ‘Mommy Wars’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
From left: Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Dianne Feinstein and Patty Murray conduct a news conference to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on Wednesday.

“I ran for office because I’ve got two children,” she added, and had concerns about the soaring federal debt. “I know as a mother, I always think what’s the legacy, what are we passing on? And he’s got such a strong position on those fiscal issues, and the president has failed on those issues so miserably.”

But Democratic women, who vastly outnumber their Republican counterparts in Congress, say the efforts won’t do much for Romney or the GOP.

They say the Republican brand with women has been damaged by a series of fights at both the state and federal levels and won’t be easily repaired.

“I go home and what women come up to me and say is ‘why is the Republican Party intruding on my personal decisions?’ ... Especially young women on the issue of contraception and equal access to health care,” said Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), Senate Democrats’ campaign chief.

Surrogates aren’t enough, she added.

“You can stand there and put a woman next to you, but [it won’t work] unless you have somebody really working on the policies that help your family, whether it’s Pell Grants and student loans, whether it’s child care, whether it’s transportation infrastructure,” Murray said. “That’s what women care about. That’s what I’m hearing from women at home. ... It’s the policies, it’s the realities of what you are fighting for. ... That’s an agenda, not a gender.”

“I don’t blame them for trying because they are going to have to do something,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said, referring to the Romney campaign turning to female surrogates. But, she said, “talking points and conference calls aren’t going to do it.”

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) predicted the gender gap would persist.

“Whether it’s equal pay or whether it’s access to women’s health services, there is a keen difference between the parties, and no matter how many people you put out there, it doesn’t change it,” she said.

And even if Romney does adjust his policies to appeal to women, it won’t work either, she said.

“How do you trust that, when just a month ago or two months ago or six months ago he said something completely different? ... It’s all about who do you trust to stand up for you and to understand your issues and concerns and priorities.”

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