Obama Takes Populist Message To Women Voters

Apr 15, 2015

President Obama spoke with North Carolina women in blogging and social media. The event was part of a week-long, Tax Week pitch aimed at working women, and it comes as 2016 presidential candidates begin their campaigns.

The president is pushing for expansion of two tax credits for lower- and middle-income families—the earned income tax credit and the child care tax credit.

“My budget puts forward proposals to lower the taxes for working families who are trying to pay for things like child care and college and retirement,” the president said in his opening speech at the event. “In today’s economy having both parents in the workforce is an economic reality for most families.”

Media company SheKnows invited about 50 women in digital media to the event. Moderator Lisa Stone, the company’s chief community officer, says their questions will neither be screened nor scripted.

Women asked about how to increase pay for teachers, ensure equal pay for women, and improve opportunities for early childhood education. Obama used those questions to pitch his budget proposals.  He said increasing tax credits for child care to $3,000 per child will make it easier for women to enter the  workforce.

"They’ve got to feel like there’s some reliable childcare, but we also want to make that child care high quality so that those kids now start having ladders of opportunity that are available to them," said Obama.

Monday the president interviewed on local TV stations in Maine, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Ohio, where he touted his budget proposals and panned a plan by House Republicans to repeal the estate tax, which primarily affects high-earners. Thursday, President Obama is scheduled to speak at the White House about equal pay, maternity leave, and accommodating pregnant women in the workplace.

The president’s push for the budget proposals—and the aim at working women—comes as the political parties begin to ramp up for the 2016 presidential election and days after Hillary Clinton and Senator Marco Rubio announced their candidacies for their respective parties. Clinton, the immediate frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, has already looked to make income inequality an issue in the campaign.

The Republican National Committee responded to the president's speech. 

"When it comes to helping women in today’s economy, President Obama is all rhetoric and no results," said Ali Pardo, an RNC spokeswoman, in a statement. "During his presidency, weak job growth and lower paying jobs have left more women in poverty."