Republicans often say she plays the gender card, Hillary Clinton told a crowd of 500 at a Women for Hillary organizing event in Cedar Falls Monday. (Sept. 14)
“Well, if supporting women’s health and women’s rights is ‘playing the gender card,’ then deal me in,” the Democratic presidential candidate said.
Many of the talking points in Clinton’s 40-minute speech during her stop at the University of Northern Iowa were aimed at addressing issues she hopes connects with women: paid maternity leave, equal wages, violence against women and reproductive rights.
While she didn’t outline specific policies to address these issues, she at least made it a point to draw contrasts between her and Republican presidential candidates.
“On Wednesday, the Republicans will have another of their debates,” Clinton said referring to the second televised Republican primary debate scheduled for Wednesday evening. “And we can expect to hear more of the same top-down, out-of-touch policies that they’ve been hawking for years.”
“Last (debate), they had not one word to say about equal pay for women,” she said. “Or paid family leave; or quality, affordable preschools.”
Katherine Rinken, a UNI sophomore and social sciences secondary education major, said she was drawn to Clinton’s support for raising the minimum wage and that Clinton said sexual assault on campuses needs to be addressed through providing the proper resources.
Jordan Peterson, a UNI senior seeking a major in Spanish, said points Clinton made addressing so-called women’s issues were vague. He said her speech lacked concrete polices to address the problem of which many are aware. “Women’s issues are very important, don’t get me wrong, but as a man, it’s hard to put myself in the situation (or) in women’s shoes,” he said.
Clinton’s poll numbers have dropped among women since July, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll that surveyed 1,003 random adults via telephone Sept. 7-10. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Clinton said she is confident despite the poll and attributed the erosion in support to the ebb and flow of polling throughout the course of a campaign.
A YouGov/CBS News poll, from this week, showed Clinton had lost her lead in Iowa to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont. She trailed by him by 10 percentage points, according to data gained from online interviews of 646 likely registered voters in Iowa in a poll carrying a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Asked twice by audience members about her thoughts on Sanders, Clinton said debates will help voters draw contrasts between her platform and Sanders’.
Clinton said the minimum wage is a womans’ issue because two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. She also called for eliminating minimum wage exemptions for workers who earn tips, an economic tool she said exploits predominantly women. She said women can be paid as little as $2.13 an hour waitressing, bartending or as a hair salon employee.
“The theory is that they will get up to the minimum wage with tips. But the reality is that’s often not the case,” Clinton said, drawing applause. “And they often have to get harassed to get them.”
Perhaps the most raucous applause came from Clinton’s direct denunciation of Gov. Terry Branstad’s veto this past summer of mental health funding that would have kept open two of Iowa’s four mental health facilities.
“I think we are on the way to a campaign of great significance,” Clinton said. “So please join me in helping build an America where … a father can say to his daughter: ‘You can be anything you want, even president of the United States.”