Mitt Romney’s campaign gaffed today when asked about the Ledbetter Act, which helps to bridge the divide of pay discrepancies between men and women. Romney’s camp declined comment, and Obama’s camp was there to soak up the resulting sunshine.
According to CNN, on a conference call with reporters, Romney’s camp was asked whether or not the GOP heir-apparent supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, the first bill signed into law by Obama, which allows workers to sue if a pay discrepancy exists between a man and a woman. The response from Romney’s campaign? “We’ll get back to you on that,” Romney Campaign Policy Director Lanhee Chen said.
Romney’s campaign was quick to cover their nuggets, issuing a statement from Campaign Spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responding to the call. Henneberg said that Romney does support pay equity, but she didn’t exactly say whether or not he was a fan of the Ledbetter law. “Women account for more than 92% of jobs lost under Barack Obama. Of course Mitt Romney supports pay equity for women. The real question is whether President Obama supports jobs for women,” said Henneberg. The camp also sent a graph showing female job loss since Obama took office (Romney and Obama have been in a war-of-words over which candidate is more anti-women lately).
An anonymous campaign representative said of Romney, “[he] supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.”
Too little, too late, Camp Romney. Obama’s Camp was all over the call, using it to their advantage, even getting Ledbetter herself (the inspiration for the bill) to issue a statement condemning the GOP candidate. She criticized Romney for failing to “stand up for women and their families.” She continued, “If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn’t have to take time to ‘think’ about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” concluding that “Anyone who wants to be President of the United States shouldn’t have to think about whether they support pursuing every possible avenue to ensuring women get the same pay for the same work as men.”
Obama campaign senior adviser (and methinks the architect of this little melee) David Axelrod quipped via Twitter, “Tough day on the Mitt Rehab With Women Tour. On call, his team punts when asked if he supports the Lily Ledbetter pay equity law.”
Let the rhetorical battle begin.