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Kerry and Bush Target Women Voters on Campaign Trail

In the past week, both presidential candidates spoke to voters in battleground states on topics they believe hold particular importance to women voters. With the presidential election just a week away, and polls showing a dead heat between the two candidates, both Kerry and Bush are courting the women’s vote, as women are expected to outnumber male voters on November 2 by over eight million. On Friday, Kerry spoke in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the ailing economy’s effect on working women, noting an increased wage gap and the need to raise the minimum wage. Kerry also touted his plans to improve education and guarantee health care coverage for children. On Sunday, Kerry addressed a group of African-Americans at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Kerry responded to claims by some leaders in the Catholic Church that Catholic politicians should be denied communion if they support a woman’s right to choose. Kerry, who is pro-choice and Catholic, said, “My task as I see it is not to write every doctrine [of the Catholic Church] into law. That is not possible or right in a pluralistic society.” Kerry also said he would block any attempts by the Catholic Church to ban abortion or stem cell research, according to the Washington Post. Bush, traveling with First Lady Laura Bush and their two daughters, spoke about security as a priority issue for families in America last week as he held events to Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, Reuters reports, saying that “all progress on every other issue depends on the safety of our citizens.” Bush then turned his focus to the issues of abortion and gay marriage while campaigning in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This is unusual for the president, who usually only touches on these issues, according to Knight Ridder. In his speech, Bush criticized Kerry for voting against the abortion procedures ban, which has since been struck down as unconstitutional by three separate federal courts because it did not include an exception for the health of the woman. Kerry has said that he voted against the ban for that very reason.

Sources:

Washington Post 10/22/04, 10/25/04; Reuters 10/22/04; Knight Ridder 10/23/04; St. Petersburg Times 10/25/04; Associated Press 10/22/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 10/25/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 9/8/04, 10/12/04