A very good piece in USA Today about how Obama must pick up a good percentage of women who voted for Hillary Clinton or he can kiss the presidency goodbye:
I would say in the past that women who focused solely on abortion as a litmus test issue for a candidate made up a small percentage of voters. Obama's problems with women are much more fundamental than a disagreement over issues; women do not trust Obama nor do they think him honest - that much revealed in polls last week.
Obama could face a challenge to win over some women who, in Clinton's loss, feel they've been disrespected by the Democratic Party and are stinging over what they believe was sexism in cable news coverage of her campaign.
"If Hillary's not respected, none of us are respected," says Sky Underwood, 57, a New York designer who volunteered for Clinton.
Obama already is courting Clinton's female supporters in the Senate, including California's Dianne Feinstein and Maryland's Barbara Mikulski. "Barack needs to reach out to many of these women," says Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., an early Obama supporter. She says Obama will be "calling and visiting with them and talking to them about how important they are to this campaign."
On Sunday, Feinstein summed Clinton's hold on female voters. "Women were really invested in this candidacy," she said on ABC. "And they believe she got treated poorly."
In interviews last week before Clinton formally bowed out, Obama talked about his plans to make college affordable and for health coverage - just two issues of concern to many female voters.
"For that 45-year-old woman who is trying to figure out 'How am I going to send my kid to college?' I've got a plan to make college more affordable. John McCain doesn't," he said in an interview Thursday on CNN. The two candidates also differ on abortion - Obama supports abortion rights; McCain does not - which will be an issue in future Supreme Court appointments, Obama said.
"There's nothing to get you over grief so much as getting you mad," says Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. "And once (female voters) focus on McCain and his record on women, they're going to get mad."
Rather, women will vote for a candidate who expresses their concerns the best. In this, McCain has a good shot at competing as we have seen Obama stumble during the campaign on women's issues.
Polls suggest Obama has a lot of work to do while McCain can exploit a fundamental weakness for Obama. It would make it that much harder for Obama to win.