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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

 11:40 AM 

Lawton: McCain has shown 'a fundamental disrespect for women'

John McCain has shown "a fundamental disrespect for women," and female voters recognize the stark differences between the Republican and Barack Obama, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said today.

Lawton cited examples such as an off-the-cuff remark McCain made about his wife competing in a bikini contest at a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., and his fumbling for an answer when asked about insurance that covers drugs like Viagra but not birth control. McCain has voted against requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for birth control.

"(Obama) deeply respects women, and we can not say that about John McCain," Lawton said during a conference call with reporters from the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

McCain spokeswoman Leah Yoon wrote in an e-mail that McCain has always recognized women's unique issues, worked on things like women's health care options while in Congress and that "these outrageous claims further reinforce the lack of confidence their campaign has in convincing Hillary supporters to vote for Obama."

Lawton, who backed Hillary Clinton in the state Wisconsin primary and co-chaired her state campaign, said that Obama's decision to put Clinton's name up for nomination at the convention is recognition of the historic campaign she waged for the White House. She said the move is a "sign of the strength of the Democratic Party."

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who joined Lawton on the call, said McCain has repeatedly voted against reproductive health rights for women. She also said the Arizona senator doesn't appreciate the economic plight of ordinary Americans, especially women.

Clinton will address the convention tonight, and Moore said she is anticipating the speech.

"Her comments and her remarks will help galvanize the 18 million supporters she attracted in a way that will push our nominee over the finish line in November," Moore said.

Lawton and Moore dismissed media reports about a rift between the Clinton and Obama camps as the product of an over-active 24-hour news cycle.

"People are making stories out of non-stories and sort of chewing their cud," Lawton said.

-- By Greg Bump

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