Romney’s Woman Problem Isn’t New

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 13 2012 @ 2:49pm

by Patrick Appel

Women voters overwhelmingly preferred Ted Kennedy to Mitt Romney in 1994, despite Romney pandering to female voters during a debate with Kennedy:

How Kennedy turned women against Romney:

There was actually a moment in the 1994 race when many were predicting Kennedy’s defeat.  In a desperate bid for women’s votes, he went after Romney’s religion, saying that he should explain his stand on the Mormon Church’s pre-1978 ban on black priests and its continuing refusal to ordain women. (The Catholic Church, of course, doesn’t ordain women either, but Kennedy said that it should.) That line of attack backfired, sparking bipartisan disgust. “Religious Politicking Could Seal Kennedy’s Doom,” ran one headline.

Then Kennedy’s campaign tried a new tack, prefiguring one we’re likely to see from Obama this fall. “We made a case against [Romney] focused first of all on his record on business,” says Devine.  Kennedy’s staff zeroed in on two aspects of that record—layoffs, particularly of women, at companies taken over by Bain, and the absence of women in senior management positions at Bain itself.