At Tuesday’s Hofstra University presidential debate, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney duked it out over pay equity for women, just as they have fought over female votes in the national polls. While Obama made the empathetic case for his single mother and his belief in equal pay — pointing out that the first bill he signed as president was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — he did not address reports this year that demonstrated that his own White House pays women less than men.
“The first bill I signed was something called the Lily Ledbetter bill. And it’s named after this amazing woman who had been doing the same job as a man for years, found out that she was getting paid less, and the Supreme Court said that she couldn’t bring suit because she should have found about it earlier, whereas she had no way of finding out about it,” Obama said. “So we fixed that. And that’s an example of the kind of advocacy that we need, because women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family. This is not just a women’s issue — this is a family issue, this is a middle-class issue, and that’s why we’ve got to fight for it.