Speaking at the Working Family Summit in DC on Monday, President Obama fired up the room with his historical support for women.
The president brought up an interview where he was asked if this was political because women are more likely to vote for Democrats. The president answered, “Women are smarter.”
President Obama discussed why the White House is holding this summit, “Part of the purpose of this summit is the point that you are not alone…. These things can’t just be fixed by working harder or being a better parent. All too often they are the result of outdated policies and old way of thinking. Family leave, childcare, these are not frills these are basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses they should be part of our basic needs.”
“All too often these problems are thought of as women’s issues which I guess means you can kinda scoot them aside? At a time when women are a large segment of our work force… when women succeed, America succeeds.”
The room went nuts clapping.
“These are common sense issues. It is about you too, men! Men care about having high quality childcare. Dads rearrange their schedules to make it school meetings… But as someone pointed out to me, when men leave early to get to the game, everybody in the office is like ‘Aw,’ but when women do it, they ask if she is really committed to the job.”
Of the things he loves the most about being President, Obama said Air Force One is one of the biggest, the Truman balcony and the fact that anyone will give you their baby are others. This was his segue to taking care of his girls “and watching sports center once in a while, which I thought was good for their development.”. The President explained that he was lucky to be able to take time off for his girls but not everyone is that fortunate.
The president said, “21st century families deserve 21st century work places… and that means paid family leaves. There is only one developed country in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave and that is us, and that is not a list you want to be on!”
To Congress, the President thundered, “Don’t talk the talk, we want you to walk the walk.”
To the audience, he continued, “If Congress won’t act, we’ll need mayors to act. We’ll need governors to act. We’ll need CEOs to act. And I promise you you will have a president who will act.”
Out of nowhere, someone from the audience shouted out, “Working families love you, President Obama.” The President nodded, “Well, thank you.” Earlier when another citizen shouted “We love you,” he said, “I love you back.” The crowd was fired up for the President’s message regarding working families and women’s rights.
Obama added, “I think if you do the same work you should get the same pay, so Congress should do the right thing and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act,” the President said to huge cheers.
The President has been a big champion of women and working families, and now since Congress won’t take any action, he’s taking charge as part of his Year of Action — taking things into the hands of local people, businesses, and using the power of his office to do the right thing for workers.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.