On the campaign trail this week, some sharp differences emerge (or reemerge) between candidates McCain and Obama.
Obama would require employers to expand family and medical leave, for example, while McCain said Thursday it should "be subject to negotiations between management and labor."
Negotiations between management and labor? What power do employees have to negotiate family leave rights? Does McCain assume that most employees belong to a union that can bargain collectively for them? This from the man who voted to block a Senate vote on the union-friendly Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that Obama co-sponsored.
On reproductive rights: [more ...]
"I will never back down in defending a woman's right to choose," Obama said at a "Women for Obama" breakfast fundraiser. ...
The two candidates differ sharply on abortion rights, which McCain has long opposed. Obama says McCain would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision affirming a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.
"Senator McCain has made it abundantly clear that he wants to appoint justices like (John) Roberts and (Samuel) Alito," Obama said Thursday. "And that he hopes to see Roe overturned."
Underscoring his point, Planned Parenthood endorsed Obama this week. Given the two men's differences on reproductive issues, Obama told the breakfast audience, the group's decision was hardly "a nail-biter."
On the Fair Pay Restoration Act, a necessary piece of legislation discussed at greater length here:
Obama cited recent Senate legislation designed to counteract a Supreme Court decision limiting the time workers have to file pay discrimination lawsuits. Obama said McCain "thinks the Supreme Court got it right."
"He suggested that the reason women don't have equal pay isn't discrimination on the job - it's because they need more education and training," Obama said, eliciting groans from the audience.
Obama backed the Senate legislation that would have made it easier for women to sue their employers for pay discrimination. McCain opposed it, saying at the time: "I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation ... opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems."
McCain, who calls himself a "proud conservative," takes a much more hands-off approach to most regulatory issue, making it easy for opponents to accuse him of not using the government's powers to help struggling women. They point, for example, to his vote against a Senate amendment that would have required insurance companies to cover birth control products. Many insurers cover products such as Viagra, prompting cries of unfair treatment by some women's groups.
How does McCain respond?
Asked about women in an interview this week, McCain said he wants to "make sure that any barriers to their advancement are eliminated."
And what would McCain do to attain that goal? Cut taxes? Extend the fighting in Iraq? If you mean it, Senator McCain, why not support legislation that would help accomplish that goal? Oh, that's right, big business opposes it, and McCain is the candidate of big business.
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