Elections 2012: Romney Aid Fails to Answer Whether Mitt Supports Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Law

NEW YORK | Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 9:35pm EDT

Mitt Romney has had three separate political campaigns to figure out how to attract women voters. It ssems now that he needs more practice.

In recent days, Mitt Romney's campaign has been trying to squash the perception that he's bad with the ladies. But his surrogated didn't help him. Photo: BU Interactive News/Flickr

According to a recent USA Today-Gallup Poll, the GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney trailing President Barack Obama among women voters by 18 percentage points – 54 to 36 percent.

In recent days, Romney’s campaign has been trying to squash the perception that he’s bad with the ladies, tells The Huff Post.

The campaign has involved everyone from Ann Romney — who insists that her husband really isn’t “stiff” when you “unzip him” — to other prominent Republican women.

But the records of some of Romney’s surrogates seem to undermine the campaign’s message.

During a conference call with reporters, a Romney surrogate was asked if the candidate would repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was the first bill signed by President Obama and expanded the rights of workers to pursue legal action on pay discrepancies between men and women, reports MLive.

The response: “We’ll get back to you on that.” The law provides women with more legal channels to pursue receiving equal pay for equal work. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul later clarified that Romney “supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.”

However, Democrats took aim at this Romney’s campaign’s stumble. Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate released the statement on the Romney campaign’s initial failure to take a position on pay equity for women, according to WisDems.

The Romney Campaign couldn’t answer a basic question on whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and now won’t answer whether he supports his hero, Scott Walker, in eliminating pay equity protections for Wisconsin women, veterans, seniors and disabled workers,” Tate said in the statement

“Romney’s continued silence on Scott Walker’s anti-family legislation removes any possibility that Mitt Romney would stand up for Wisconsin women and make a commitment to restoring middle class security. If women earn less, Wisconsin families are worse off.”

“If Mitt Romney’s position on this basic question of economic fairness is uncertain, how can the people of Wisconsin take him seriously on the most pressing issues facing our country: Ensuring hard work and responsibility is rewarded, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules,” he added.

Lilly Ledbetter, the woman the legislation is named after, also issued a statement, according to Politico.

“I was shocked and disappointed to hear that Mitt Romney is not willing to stand up for women and their families. If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn’t have to take time to ‘think’ about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” she said.

“Women earn just 77 cents to every dollar that men earn for the same job, which is why President Obama took decisive action and made this the first bill that he signed when he took office.”

Michigan Democrats also were critical. State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer said: “What does Mitt Romney need to think about when it comes to supporting fair pay and equal treatment for women in the workforce?”

“As a mother of two daughters, I find it outrageous and dispiriting that the presumptive Republican nominee for President can’t – or won’t – take a clear position on the Lilly Ledbetter Act that ensures equal pay for equal work,” she added.

A few hours later the Romney camp responded: “Women account for more than 92% of jobs lost under Barack Obama. Of course Mitt Romney supports pay equity for women. The real question is whether President Obama supports jobs for women,” said Amanda Henneberg,  Romney campaign spokesman.

This claim is technically accurate but it ignores the fact that male-dominated industries were hit hardest during the tail end of the Bush years, while female job losses were more spread out.

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