With Female Surrogates at His Side, Obama Crisscrosses the West
By Alec MacGillis
BOISE -- As Barack Obama has made his way across the plains states and West this week, one feature has been nearly as consistent as the talk of hope and change: he almost always has a woman or two by his side.
In his grandfather's hometown of El Dorado, Kansas on Tuesday, he was joined by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who endorsed him that day. That evening in Kansas City, Mo., he was bracketed on the stage by two tall stools, one occupied by Sebelius, the other by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. In Denver on Wednesday, he was introduced by Caroline Kennedy. In Phoenix that evening, the tall stools were back, and on them were perched Kennedy and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. And at events when he is introduced by lesser known community members, they have mostly been women.
Some of this, to be sure, is a matter of circumstance -- it so happens that several of Obama's most prominent endorsers in the states he's been traveling in are women. (The campaign has also produced ads featuring McCaskill, Napolitano and Kennedy.) But it's also true that the campaign has been doing what it can to try to cut into Hillary Clinton's edge among women, including bringing Oprah back for a rally this weekend in Los Angeles alongside Michelle Obama. After Obama surpassed Clinton with women voters in Iowa, large margins among women fueled Clinton's wins in New Hampshire and Nevada.
The Clinton campaign has noted the increasingly female vibe in Obama's public presentation. "It's very interesting. All his advertisements these days don't feature him, they feature women," said Clinton adviser Mandy Grunwald. "I figure that's a tribute to [Clinton's] strength with women. I assume he's doing that because he feels that he needs to compensate."
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