The battle for female voters continues apace this week in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, as Timothy M. Kaine unveiled a radio ad Monday on the debate over the meaning of “women’s issues.”
Kaine (D) and fellow former governor George Allen (R) are keen to win over women in their neck-and-neck contest. A Washington Post poll released last month showed Kaine leading Allen among women by 14 percentage points, and a Suffolk University survey released last week put Kaine’s advantage at 12 points.
Kaine’s 60-second radio ad consists entirely of a clip of the Democrat speaking at the Sept. 20 debate in McLean. He is responding to a question from moderator David Gregory, who called the “gender gap” in the race a “social issue.”
“It’s demeaning to suggest that issues about women are just social issues and not economic issues,” Kaine says. “If you force women to have an ultrasound procedure against their will, and pay for it, that’s an economic issue. If you deny women the opportunity, because of personhood legislation, to make constitutional choices, even including whether to purchase contraception, that’s an economic issue.”
The ad also quotes Kaine noting that Allen voted against the Family and Medical Leave Act when he served in Congress, and that Allen was in favor of Senate legislation this year that would have allowed insurance companies and employers to opt out of covering contraception and other prescriptions or procedures they object to on religious or moral grounds.
Allen’s campaign accused Kaine of avoiding real discussion of the “economic issues” facing women, criticizing the Democrat both for his record as governor and for the economic performance of the Obama administration.
“When Tim Kaine talks about women facing difficult economic issues, he is right,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis. “Under the Obama-Kaine economic policies of the last four years, women have disproportionately borne the brunt of the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.”
Kaine’s spot comes on the heels of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee television ad unveiled last week that also sought to tie Allen to personhood and ultrasound legislation that sparked controversy in the Virginia Legislature. Allen backs personhood legislation, including at the federal level, but has not taken a position on the ultrasound measure.