This post written by The UpTake’s Senior Political Correspondent Noah Kunin
McCain’s intro to the townhall took longer then usual. Finally into questions. McCain answers a question on how he expects to convince more citizens to allow for additional nuclear power plants (Answer: Americans are smart and will see the wisdom of carbon-free power). A voter asks two questions: one on Vice President Cheney spiking testimony on climate change and a question on 1/5 of Guantanmo prisoners going free. McCain uses the first question to try and convince some in the audience that climate change is real (to some infrequent boos). He feins ignorance on the Cheney issue but says that he has been concerned about climate change testimony for several years.
Reviewing McCain’s record on women’s issue there seems to be a degree of “tone deafness” in his responses even on relatively non controversial issues. McCain was asked why he missed the vote for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Here is what he said:
“They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said. “And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.
McCain singled out a 14-year old woman who questioned why he opposes eliminating the statute of limitations on lawsuits over workplace discrimination, arguing it amounted to opposing “equal rights for women.”
“If you eliminate the statutes of limitations, and you make it unending, you may be violating the rights of the individuals who are being sued, whether they’re a man or a woman,” the senator responded. “I don’t think you’re doing anything to help the rights of women, except maybe help trial lawyers and others in that profession.”
Leaving McCain’s argument regarding the statute of limitations aside (see a good rebuttal of that point here at WaPo) McCain’s response on April 23rd was the right answer to the wrong question. Pay disparity is not the same as the education gap. The problem is that two individuals are working the same job, the same hours at the same quality of work and are being paid different amounts as a result of gender. According the Census Bureau women were being paid 77 cents on the dollar as compared to men in 2007! Women need to know that in the 21st century an investment in “education and training” will pay the same benefits to them as an identically qualified man.
I’m here in Hudson, WI with our Executive Correspondent Chuck Olsen covering a McCain town hall event. This town hall will focus on jobs and women’s issues. Usually The UpTake would do a live stream and coverage of this type event using some combination of Mogulus and CoverItLive (two fantastic tools for citizen journalists). We’ve decided to forego the bleeding edge technology, if for only one day, in order to listen more closely to what Sen. McCain says to this crowd. Watch this space for a slow live-blog of the event. We wlil post some edited video later on.