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In Seattle, Obama tells party faithful: 'We need you fired up'
"The economy has changed so that women have made such enormous strides that they now constitute half of the workforce," Obama said at the backyard talk. He added, "We've made enormous strides since the 1960s, when my grandmother worked in a bank and went as far as she could and became a vice president, but still hit a glass ceiling."
Obama said men have been hard hit in the recession, losing jobs faster than women, particularly in the construction industry, but added that women are more often keenly aware of the weak economy. "At least in my household," he said, women have a "greater sense of the family budget."
The White House said the administration's focus on women was not orchestrated for political benefit. "This has been a continuing focus of the president's," Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One en route from Washington to Portland, Ore., on Wednesday. "The timing isn't political. It's an issue that obviously is on everybody's mind, and I'm sure is on the minds of people of the states that are represented by women in the Senate and those that aren't."
On Thursday morning, Obama and his motorcade stopped at Top Pot Doughnuts, a small shop in downtown Seattle, to grab a couple dozen doughnuts on his way to the backyard event. Obama stepped up to the counter and ordered two boxes of designer doughnuts. Then, joined by Murray, he engaged in some retail politicking.
"Everybody know Senator Murray?" Obama said, shaking hands and working the room of coffee drinkers.
"Everybody needs to remember to vote," he said later, returning to the counter to pick up his doughnuts.
The president lifted the lid of one of the boxes to try one and told Murray they were too big to eat alone.
"This is outstanding," Obama said, taking a bite. "You can't eat this every day."