Womens Health

"Is There a War on Women?" Obama White House Communications Director Refuses to Answer

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At Netroots Nation today, Daily Kos Associate Editor Kalli Joy Gray interviewed Dan Pfeiffer, White House Director of Communications.  During the interview, questions posed to Pfeiffer rangd from the War Powers Act to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and gay rights, among other issues. 

Concluding her discussion on the War Powers Act, Gray turned to Pfeiffer and said, "Now I;d like to ask you about a different kind of war, and this is one I am particularly concerned about...the war on women." Gray continued:

We're seeing an unprecedented number of attacks on women at the state and federal level, everything from contraception to health care to food stamps, drug-testing of women receiving welfare in Florida.  Women in Congress including Nancy Pelosi are talking about the war on women.  I want to know if the President agrees with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and new DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz that there is a war on women.

Pfeiffer punts.  He acknowledges that "there is a sustained effort a the state and federal level to roll back progress we've made," and goes on to cite the efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood at the state and federal level. 

Gray challenges him on what happened during health reform and asks again: "Is there a war on women."  Pfeiffer punts again, refuses to answer the question and then said "Let's talk about health reform," calling including strengthening the Hyde Amendment during health reform a "simple choice."

Pfeiffer claims that "there is no question that the President is concerned about the "very same things that concern Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz."  Gray asks, then "well he hasn't really said anything about it, so, is he planning to speak out on the issue?"

When Pfeiffer falls back on the example of Planned Parenthood and on the Lilly Ledbetter act, Gray says, "because you know in 2008 President Obama carried women by a 56 to 43 margin, and in 2010 Democratic women stayed home or voted Republican. Women in this country, Democratic women are the majority in the country and a majority of the party, we feel like we are under assault, frankly we are a little sick hearing about [Ledbetter]."

"Does the President think he can win without women?"

Pfeiffer: "Of course not."

So what will he do to get women to turn out in 2012?

Pfeiffer points out a push for the Paycheck Fairness Act.  In other words, no answer on a concerted strategy to address the assault on women's rights.  Indeed, not even an analysis about the war on women from the White House.  Nada.