Biden Targets Female Voters in Va.

The Democratic vice presidential candidate criticizes Republicans for the nation's economic troubles and showcases some of his female relatives. Video by Ed O'Keefe/
By Christopher Twarowski
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 20, 2008

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. drew several hundred partisan supporters to a Sterling park yesterday for an event targeting female voters in a region that has emerged as a battleground.

Biden (Del.) said he and presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) would, if elected, press for equal pay for women and health-care reform. He also touched on the Wall Street meltdown, offering a two-pronged response to the financial crisis.

"Short-term need: to staunch the bleeding," Biden told the crowd at Claude Moore Park. For the long term, he said, "We have to have a major, major, major overhaul of how the financial system works."

Biden's appearance in Loudoun County showed anew the intensity of the contest for Virginia's 13 electoral votes. Last week, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, drew a massive crowd in Fairfax.

Yesterday, Biden was flanked by several women from his family as he repeatedly sought to tie the Republican ticket to the incumbent president.

"The Bush administration has dug us into a very deep hole," Biden said. "When the economy goes south, who are the first people that get hurt the most? It's women! We're going to change that!"

Biden said his own support of legislation to prevent domestic violence stood in contrast with McCain's record.

"John McCain didn't believe there was need for the Violence Against Women Act," Biden said, drawing boos from the crowd. "He voted against it. He said it was ineffective and ill-conceived. Ladies and gentleman, tell that to the 1.5 million women who found it necessary."

Biden also criticized McCain's support of a Bush administration effort to privatize Social Security. "Imagine if all the money that he wanted to put in the market were in the market today," Biden said. "Tens of thousands of elderly women would be in a worse situation than they are in today."

Judy M. Feder, democratic candidate for Virginia's 10th Congressional District, and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) appeared with Biden.

Mikulski targeted Palin, alluding to the Alaska governor's much-discussed joke at the Republican National Convention about pit bulls, hockey moms and lipstick.

"Democratic women, we wear lipstick too!" Mikulski told the crowd. "We need somebody that gets it. We don't need another George Bush in earrings going into the next No. 2 slot."

Paula Goldman, 43, a lawyer, brought her 8-year-old daughter, Naomi Feist, to the rally.

"My biggest concern is our stance in the world," Goldman said, "and I think this campaign represents an opportunity for us to undo some of the tremendous damage that's been done by the Bush regime."

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