Lawmakers supporting President Obama and Mitt Romney argued over each candidate's appeal to women on Sunday, as the president's once-substantial lead among women seems to have tightened in recent weeks.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said on Sunday that women are feeling the pressures of the economy under the president.
“Gov. Romney is coming up with a plan, with a way to get these women employed and take care of their children and their families,” Rodgers said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Rodgers said the debates have boosted Romney’s favorability among women, who are “seeing him and his record when it comes to women.”
However, Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., said on the issues of equal pay for women and reproductive health care, the president has the clear advantage.
“I think what we're seeing here is that the electorate and women are also crystallizing,” Edwards said on CNN. “They [will] look really hard at … what he has done with and for women, including supporting equal pay for equal work, making sure that mammograms and cervical health care is taken care of, and I think what are you seeing in the polls is that women care about a lot of things.”
Edwards touted the president signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which makes it easier for women to sue for equal pay. Although he did not say that Romney doesn't support the law, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., criticized the legislation.
“If you're the most qualified person for the job, you should be able to get paid as much as your male counterpart,” Rubio said on ABC’s This Week. “Just because they call a piece of legislation an equal pay bill doesn't make it so. In fact, much of this legislation is many respects is nothing but an effort to help trial lawyers collect their fees.”
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said this lack of answer should be troubling and telling for female voters.
“On Lilly Ledbetter, I mean I think it's very telling. Mitt Romney, on a point blank question the other night in the debate, refused to answer whether he believes in equal pay for equal work,” Wasserman Schultz said on ABC. “He refers to women as binders and resumes. You know, a callous sort of brush-off.”