ABC: Women Only Ponder Dem Presidential Candidates

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterContinuing the trend of focusing on Democrats and issues important to Democratic voters, "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman delved into the psyche of women voters on Wednesday. Of course, this meant exclusively examining female voters who are choosing between liberal presidential candidates.

Describing the dilemma of a group of women in California, she enthused, "For many of these Democratic women, it was a struggle between two extremely appealing candidates." Such flowery language about two liberals White House contenders shouldn't be surprising. In January of 2007, Shipman famously depicted the battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a contest of "fluid poetry" versus "hot factor."

Recounting the decision making process of five Super Tuesday voters, Shipman discussed the quandary of one woman who, as the ABC reporter put it, "initially felt the tug toward Hillary so many of her contemporaries did." According to voter Laura Chick, "[Women have] struggled against the glass ceiling all their lives. And, to them, having Hillary Clinton elected president is the culmination of their life struggle."

It is true that 57 percent of those who voted Democrat on Super Tuesday are women, but GMA has consistently focused on issues and subjects that relate to the Democratic side of the 2008 primaries. For instance, on January 7th, 2008, the day before the New Hampshire primary, "Good Morning America" devoted 15 minutes to the Democratic race and only 31 seconds for the Republican contest.

On a related subject, the MRC's Kyle Drennen noted that CBS's "Early Show" filed a similarly themed segment on young voters, young Democratic voters.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:31am on February 6, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: But, now more on the race to '08. And from New York, to Alabama, California, to Connecticut, women emerged as the strongest voice on Super Tuesday for the Democrats. They made up a whopping 57 percent of the vote in the Democratic primaries. ABC's senior national correspondent Claire Shipman joins us now from Los Angeles with more on that. Good morning, Claire.

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Good morning, Robin. They made up the front lines for Hillary Clinton. And we grabbed some of the women who were voting here in California, just after they cast their ballot to talk about it. It was still a difficult decision for a lot of them. And we found differences among the Democratic women we talked to based on age, based on race. But, interestingly, the Hillary supporters say they were not voting for her just because she was a woman. Heavy turnout among female voters gave Hillary Clinton a critical boost.

ALICIA BLEIER (Clinton supporter): She's enormously talented and intelligent. Yes, it's great she's a woman.

SHIPMAN: Female voters made the difference across the country, New Jersey, Tennessee, Massachusetts and California, where the gender gap was as big as 25 points. Was it just Venus versus Mars? We sat down with a group of California women just after they voted to talk about whether gender made a difference in the voting booth. Alicia, who voted for Clinton, says no.

BLEIER: Not at all for me. And I think it's slightly insulting, actually, because I find that that's more superficial. I want to know what their positions are. I want to know their experience. To me, it's a bonus. Oh, how great. And she's a woman. I mean, I agree with her positions and she's a woman.

SHIPMAN: Not only was there a gender gap but a generational gap among women. Laura, who decided to support Obama, says she initially felt the tug toward Hillary so many of her contemporaries did.

LAURA CHICK (Obama supporter): They've struggled against the glass ceiling all their lives. And, to them, having Hillary Clinton elected president is the culmination of their life struggle.

SHIPMAN: From everything I can tell, women who are under 30 and under, especially, don't feel the same way about having the first woman.

KATHERINE LEE (Obama supporter): We are in a different generation. And it shouldn't be solely based on, the fact that, oh, I'm a woman. I need to vote for a woman to get the woman in office.

SHIPMAN: Katherine voted for Obama and some of his supporters say he's the historic choice.

SHOVANDA WILLIAMS (Obama supporter): In my opinion he is the better candidate but at the same time I am voting for him because he is African-American.

CHICK: For me the idea of electing a person of color is equally as compelling as electing a woman.

SHIPMAN: For many of these Democratic women, it was a struggle between two extremely appealing candidates.

LEE: I support both of them. And I find that they have very similar ideas on many, many things. And if Obama loses, I will be more than happy to support Hillary.

SHIPMAN: Now, in our group, we had two women who voted for Hillary Clinton, three for Barack Obama. All of the Obama supporters, in fact, said they would support Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee. And the vote-- the woman vote is obviously something we're going to continue to watch, Diane. Very important.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.