POLITICAL INSIDER: Women’s group raises specter of ‘Speaker Boehner’ to motivate voters

By Philip Elliott, AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

POLITICAL INSIDER: Women’s group targets Boehner

WASHINGTON — A Democratic women’s group is warning voters that a Republican takeover of Congress would mean “a dangerous world.”

EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock on Thursday told a Washington audience that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul would be scrapped and Social Security would be at risk if Democrats lose their majority in the House. She needled House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio for anticipating a Republican victory.

“This year may be the first year in 30 years that the number of women in Congress decreases. And the possible result could be truly devastating: Speaker John Boehner,” she said. “Make no mistake — the minority leader may not be openly measuring the curtains in the speaker’s office, but he’s quietly planning where to put his furniture.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — An insider’s view of this year’s elections based on reports from around the nation.

“The American people — men and women alike — are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ and Washington Democrats have no new answers,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. “We need to stop their tax hikes, cut government spending and get our economy moving again — that’s an agenda everyone can embrace.”

EMILY’s List, which aims to elect women who support abortion rights, also launched a website, boehnersamerica.org, with its view of the Republican agenda. The group hopes to motivate women to vote in an election cycle that could sweep Democrats from office.

“I’m not going to pull out a whiteboard to draw you a picture, but I want to connect the dots very clearly for you: John Boehner can only take the speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi, by defeating the Democratic women you and I have worked so hard to elect,” Schriock said. “And by discouraging women voters so much that they stay home on November 2.”

The group also plans an online advertising campaign around Boehner, similar to their drive against Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will make their first joint appearance of the midterm election season on Oct. 17 in Cleveland.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced Thursday that Mrs. Obama would join her husband for a fundraiser for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. She’ll also join the president for a previously announced rally for young Democrats later that day in Columbus.

Less than a month before the Nov. 2 elections, Obama is stumping hard to try to minimize Democratic losses in Congress.

He headed to Maryland on Thursday to campaign for Gov. Martin O’Malley, followed by a Chicago event for Alexi Giannoulias, who is in a tight race for Obama’s former Senate seat.

Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek rejected the endorsement of the Sierra Club after the environmental group also endorsed Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking the same seat as an independent.

The Miami congressman rejected the co-endorsement Thursday, calling it an insult to the state’s environmentalists.

Meek said he has constantly supported environmental causes, while Crist supported oil drilling off Florida’s beaches until the BP spill made that politically impossible.

The Sierra Club said it wouldn’t rescind the endorsement and said it would support Meek and Crist because they are stronger on the environment than Republican Marco Rubio.

Rubio has said he is open to offshore drilling and that he doesn’t believe humans are causing global warming.

Two conservative groups opposed to abortion and gay marriage are teaming up in an effort to get more Latinos to vote for Republican Carly Fiorina.

The Susan B. Anthony List and the National Organization for Marriage are spending $200,000 on a television ad that will run on programs aimed at Spanish-speaking voters in Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno.

The ad says that Sen. Barbara Boxer supports “abortion and homosexual marriage” and “doesn’t share our values.”

The groups also say in the ad that Boxer voted against immigration reform, but her campaign notes that she voted for bills in 2006 and 2007 that would provide legal status for those who complete various steps such as paying fines and passing a background check.

Quick hits:

— Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell used her first ad to say she’s not a witch. In her second ad, the Republican candidate tells voters that she didn’t go to Yale — as her opponent, Chris Coons, did. O’Donnell’s ads tell voter’s “I’m you,” trying to push past admissions she dabbled in witchcraft and misrepresented her educational background.

— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running a television ad against Wisconsin state Rep. Julie Lassa’s bid for Congress that includes what her campaign says is her home telephone number. The business group points to a state legislature’s public website that includes that number as her “district telephone.” Lassa is facing Republican Sean Duffy for the House seat being vacated by retiring Rep. David Obey, a Democrat.

— New Hampshire’s Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte says she raised almost $1.35 million in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Ayotte said she has over $1 million in cash on hand to face Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes for the open Senate seat.

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