The GOP's 'War on Women' is Intensifying, At Least According to MSNBC

Leave it to MSNBC to set the record straight, where a defense of conservativism is strictly forbidden.  With no one to dispute such claims, one would think the GOP's "war on women" has never been more overt or frightening -- especially after watching News Nation's host Tamron Hall discuss these issues of inequality with her openly liberal guests.

On the Oct. 17 edition of News Nation, Hall invited Salon's fiercely feminist staff writer Irin Carmon and Democratic strategist Keith Boykin on her show to 'fact check' everything Mitt Romney had said the previous night. Hardly a non-partisan duo, their agenda was clear from the beginning. Voting for Mitt Romney could potentially be dangerous for women everywhere. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]

Considering what they were talking about, there wasn't much Boykin could say on the matter. The 7 minute conversation was primarily between the two women. Carmon, who is the Fellow for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale University as well, started with an antagonistic statement that was in reference to Romney's binders full of women comment.

First of all, Romney wants a cookie just for the bare minimum and making sure there's women at the table. (They make up) 50 percent of the population or more of the electorate. As it turns out, people that remember Boston during the Romney administration know that in fact before anyone was even elected to that seat, a group of women on both sides of the aisle came together and they put that binder together. It was wasn't made at Romney's request, so he's basically taking credit for something that was done before he showed up.

Hall then wondered how the polls could be as close as they are, noting that the Obama administration has taken issue with how accurate they can possibly be. If they are "slightly correct," then why? What on earth could be more important than health issues to the women of America?

Something must be getting traction here, because the Gallup Poll, the latest one in the battleground states which is disputed by the Obama administration. If it is even slightly correct, there has been some closing in the gender gap here. I mean the president was doing enormously well and still is, but Irin if the polls are correct there is some movement, and Mitt Romney is picking up some steam with some female voters. What would be the opening? Obviously, we don't vote just on medical issues or women's health issues.

Ignoring the question entirely, Carmon highlighted the president's strong points and achievements -- showing her gratitude for what Obama has done and continues to do for her gender. More specifically for that controversial contraception mandate. In comparison, Romney just can't be trusted because of his pro-life stance.

Boykin chimed in a couple times to criticize Romney for being "incredibly aggressive, dismissive and rude" in the debate. In an attempt to fully utilize his final opportunity to speak, Boykin applauded the "genius" move Obama made for bringing up the 47 percent at the end of the debate -- "when Romney had no chance to respond."

...most importantly that last comment he made about the 47 percent. That was genius right before the end of the debate when Romney had no chance to respond. President Obama was very forceful and I think women will respond to that just as men will respond to that and say, I'm glad we have somebody to stand up and fight for us.

Near the conclusion of the one-sided argument, Carmon blurted out, "They (conservatives) are willing to say anything". Obviously these MSNBC hosts and contributors are too.

Relevant transcript below [ emphasis added ].

MSNBC

News Nation

Oct. 17, 2012

2:31 p.m. EDT

MITT ROMNEY: We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women's groups, and said can you help us find folks and they brought us binders of women.

TAMRON HALL: So everyone was wondering whether women's issues would come up in a significant way. You heard, it did. According to Reuters, it was President Obama's pitch to women that put Governor Romney on the defensive which then led to that widely talked about and tweeted comment of the governor about binders full of women. Let me bring you Salon.com's Irin Carmon, also Democratic strategist Keith Boykin. Um, already there is some fact checking going on about what went down with this I guess Governor Romney saying he went looking for women to hire.

IRIN CARMON: Yes.

HALL: What is the story there?

CARMON: First of all, Romney wants a cookie just for the bare minimum and making sure there's women at the table, 50 percent of the population or more of the electorate. As it turns out, people that remember Boston, during the Romney Administration know that in fact before anyone was even elected to that seat a group of women on both sides of the aisle came together and they put that binder together. It was wasn't made at Romney's request. So he's basically taking credit for something that was done before he showed up.

HALL: But he did hire, as I understand what was it -- half of his cabinet at the time were women?

CARMON: He did have women represented, but the number of women in high positions actually declined according to one study. And then further more, it's gone up again since Duval Patrick.

HALL: So factually speaking, wanting for the credit for saying I made this action from your research and others, that is not what happened?

CARMON: That is false.

HALL: Okay, let me play Governor Romney on contraception last night, Keith. let's play what he had say.

ROMNEY: I don't believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not and I don't believe employers can tell whether they can have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. And the president's statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong.

HALL: He supported the Blunt Amendment?

KEITH BOYKIN: Yes. He did. The funny thing is that he's contradicting himself on almost every comment he makes on women's issues, and the idea that he's supporting contraceptives for all women is flatly contradicted by the notion he also says he's opposed to funding, wants to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood which actually would help provide contraceptives to poor women. So you can't say you're in favor of everybody having access to it, and then strike down funding for everyone to have access to it. In addition to what he did with the whole binder statement and the comment about the Fair Pay Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, this guy was all over the place. I don't think he helped himself out on women's issues.

HALL: Something must be getting traction here, because the Gallup Poll, the latest one in the battleground states which is disputed by the Obama administration. If it is even slightly correct, there has been some closing in the gender gap here. I mean the president was doing enormously well and still is, but Irin if the polls are correct there is some movement, and Mitt Romney is picking up some steam with some female voters. What would be the opening? Obviously, we don't vote just on medical issues or women's health issues.

CARMON: Well, I think there's two things that need to -- we saw basically a narrowing of the gender gap, but it's definitely still in President Obama's favor.

HALL: Yes.

CARMON: The other thing he was trying to do is again, there's a small number of undecided voters. What he's also trying to do is motivate the base and excite them, and the big part of that base is young women who are interested in making sure that their reproductive rights are maintained and that access as you mentioned both through Title X Planned Parenthood funding and also through Obama Care, which fully covers and requires employers to provide contraception through private insurance so I think it's, yes absolutely the president has the task before him to remind everyone what's at stake here for women specifically and that includes undecided women but also really to talk to the women already with him and want to have a reason to turn out and feel like there's something at stake.

HALL: Beyond the substance and the clear line between both of these men regarding women's health issues, I'm so curious and I want your thoughts on this. I'm going to play an undecided female voter. Ron Allen, my colleague was with a focus group.

UNDECIDED VOTER: The interaction between them was really aggressive. I thought it was a little rude at times. So that's not something that I was fond of. They made agreement beforehand not to directly argue with each other and they broke that.

HALL: Irin, there were more than a handful of men on television today saying that the tone of the debate somehow would perhaps turn off women as if we can't take tough language, as if I don't know that this is -- I don't want to say "Leave it to Beaver" because that was a favorite growing up as a kid but in the world of cable news battles that we see every day, where is this story line coming up that women who are watching last night would shriek and be afraid of these men who were willing to battle? I believe that's what has kept a lot of women out of the corporate offices. They say, we can't take it or we're too emotional. Where does this come from? Other than that one woman who expressed her thoughts.

CARMON: Individual opinions may vary, but I think if we're talking about rudeness -- I think we need to look at how Mitt Romney talked to Candy Crowley last night. And how dismissively treated her and how often he didn't listen to her.

HALL: But she fought back, I mean she wasn't just sitting there you know.
 
CARMON: She absolutely did. I think it's absurd to suggest that women are meek and shrink back from this. But again, there's a difference -- there's politeness and then there's a strong a vigorous disagreement.

BOYKIN: There's a little bit of a double standard too. Everybody was saying last week that Joe Biden's was so aggressive, he was too much. Now this week no one is complaining about Mitt Romney. He was incredibly aggressive and dismissive and rude. He was a bully last night.

HALL: To your point two weeks prior, the president wasn't tough enough and now you have some people saying he was too tough this time around and which it has baffled me. I'm confused

BOYKIN: President Obama was too? I haven't heard that.

HALL: Yes. Some conservatives who believe that, you know, this or that. But it doesn't make it true.

CARMON: They're willing to say anything.

HALL: That's my point. That's my point.

BOYKIN: I just think they weren't expecting President Obama to be so forceful as he was last night.

HALL: How could you not expect that?

BOYKIN: On the women's issues, on the Libya answer and most importantly that last comment he made about the 47 percent. That was genius right before the end of the debate when Romney had no chance to respond. President Obama was very forceful and I think women will respond to that just as men will respond to that and say, I'm glad we have somebody to stand up and fight for us.

HALL: I actually told someone as a woman, you don't want did guy do run behind the bar but the guy to stand in front of you at the bar fight. That's my opinion.

CARMON: I think women want the hear a strong and vigorous defense of what you will do and what you've done.

HALL: These are our lives. Thank you so much, Irin and Keith. Greatly appreciated.

2:38 p.m. EDT