The Dem charge of a “GOP war on women” is getting a boost this morning, with the news that Scott Walker has quietly overturned Wisconsin’s equal pay law. As HuffPo reports, Walker has signed a measure repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which is designed to deter employers from discriminating against workers by giving them an easier way to challenge discrimination in the courts.
Business goups support repeal on behalf of “job creators,” but Dems have denounced the move, claiming it will badly limit women’s access to a remedy against unfair pay and will “turn back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace.”
This could loom large in the battle to recall Walker — injecting women’s issues into that contest — but it may also have repercussions in the presidential race.
With the battle for the female vote in the presidential race intensifying daily, the Obama campaign will try to make Walker’s latest move stick to Mitt Romney. Asked for comment on Walker’s repeal, Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith sends over a statement calling on Romney to take a position on repeal of this law:
“As he campaigned across Wisconsin, Mitt Romney repeatedly praised Governor Scott Walker’s leadership, calling him a ‘hero’ and ‘a man of courage’. But with his signing yesterday of a bill make it harder for women to enforce in court their right to equal pay, Walker showed how far Republicans are willing to go to undermine not only women’s health care, but also their economic security. Does Romney think women should have ability to take their bosses to court to get the same pay as their male coworkers? Or does he stand with Governor Walker against this?”
Here’s why this is interesting. Romney has fully embraced Walker and his agenda in recent days, proclaiming him a “hero” and vowing to campaign for him in his recall election. That alone ensures that Walker’s agenda will figure in the presidential race, since Romney’s support for it could be a factor in the battle over Wisconsin, a state that Republicans may need to take back from Obama to get to 270.
Today’s news add another twist — one involving women’s issues. The Romney campaign has rolled out Ann Romney to argue in multiple forums that the battle over contraception and cultural issues won’t hurt Mitt, because women mostly care about jobs and kitchen table concerns. But here is a gender issue that’s an economic issue, and if Romney takes the wrong side of it, Ann Romney’s argument won’t work in this case.
Because of all this — and because Obama officials hope repeal of the Wisconsin law will resonate among women nationally — you can expect the Obama camp to press Romney hard to take a position on this one.