President Obama gave an exclusive interview to Glamour magazine, which has just been released online, to share his views on women’s issues and how he thinks Americans are doing overall. In a talk with Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive on July 24 the president reconfirmed a statement made to the glossy when he was campaigning in 2008: “the best indicator of whether a country does well is how it treats its girls and its women.”
The Q&A details how Obama is currently fairing among women voters — who supported him at a rate of 56 percent in 2008. The magazine asserts that Romney is seen by young women as being a better jobs creator than Obama. Leive questioned how the president will reconnect with this group by showing his commitment to the female demographic.
How is society treating its women and girls, according to Barack? To echo the president’s 2012 campaign slogan, things are moving “Forward.”
Regarding pay parity for women voters, President Obama mentioned passing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, “My first bill, to make sure that women are getting the same pay for the same work,” he told Leive.
The president also mentioned other measures he implemented, which, while they do not address the needs of female voters directly, he believes will positively impact all citizens. President Obama contrasted Romney’s plans to cut taxes on the wealthy and scale back on regulations in several sectors to his own social “investment” approach.
“I believe the way we’re going to grow a strong economy for everybody is investing in education,” Obama said, “making college more affordable, investing in basic science and research so we keep our technological edge, balancing our budget in a responsible way so that we’re asking the wealthiest Americans to do a little bit more even as we’re cutting out programs that don’t work, making sure that we continue to provide people who work hard the chance to get affordable health care. All those things contribute to a strong middle class.”
Regarding ongoing controversies regarding abortion and access to birth control, the president cited his relationship with his own daughters, Sasha and Malia, as his inspiration for creating laws that protect funding for women’s health initiatives.
“Look, I’ve got two daughters, and I’ve repeatedly said that I want to empower them to make good decisions,” Obama stated. “They’re not going to make good decisions because somebody in Congress is restricting their access to health care. They’re going to make good decisions because hopefully they’ve been raised wisely and trust their parents enough to have open conversations about issues that they’re going to be confronting as they grow up.
“I think in the minds of most Americans—men and women—access to contraception should be a no-brainer,” he continued.
Other topics pertaining to women include the widespread public sector job cuts during his term that have primarily affected this group, and the fact that 750,000 more women are unemployed now than when Obama took office. In a separate blog post about her interview, Leive questions whether women’s concerns will be addressed at the first presidential debate tonight.
“Will those issues take center stage over the campaign’s final five weeks? Will they come up at the debate tomorrow night?,” she wrote yesterday. “They certainly should: After all, there are 7 million more women than men eligible to vote this fall, so whichever way you lean, this could be your race to call.”
Black female voters make up a portion of that group Glamour speaks to in this interview, and are also very important to President Obama’s campaign. These voters, analysts have demonstrated, have the highest rate of voter turnout of any group in America, and are critical to getting out the larger black vote.
Outlets targeting African-American women, such as Essence magazine and Clutch Magazine Online, could help the president assess concerns that are central to their readers, including black female voters’ extreme lack of access to health care.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.