On NARAL’s Endorsement of Obama

Peggy_simpson1_2 Peggy Simpson at the Women’s Media Center:

At a time when there is much end-game talk and when one component of a November strategy for Obama focuses on courting Hillary Clinton’s women supporters, this would seem to be a blow to that effort.

If anything, NARAL highlighted the divisions in the contemporarywomen’s movement in this presidential campaign, where the national Democratic finalists have been neck-to-neck in popular vote and delegates, with Obama having an edge but with Clinton gaining not just her sea legs but a national reputation for toughness and persistence down to the last vote.

And a huge proportion of over-50 women have stayed with her, including many who write checks to her campaign as well as to pro-choice groups such as NARAL.

In retrospect, NARAL may not have intended the grass roots rebellion that its endorsement sparked, especially at a time when there is much talk about how Obama will need to pay special heed to courting the women’s vote, which has stayed overwhelmingly with Clinton.

Half dozen state NARAL chapters staked out their differences with the Washington-based national headquarters. Some saw it as a gratuitous slap at Clinton that didn’t need to happen.