Barack Obama spoke in support of working mothers -- including his own mother and his wife Michelle Obama -- in a speech that he gave today in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Women, said Obama, should have the same opportunities as men, and not have them be stymied by motherhood.
"As the son of a single mother, I also don't accept an America that makes women choose between their kids and their careers. It's not acceptable that women are denied jobs or promotions because they've got kids at home. It's not acceptable that forty percent of working women don't have a single paid sick day. That's wrong for working parents, it's wrong for America's children, and it's not who we are as a country."
Here, and throughout his speech, Obama took a refreshingly novel approach for a male presidential candidate in describing the American working mothers, emphasizing the importance, and rewards, of equality both in the workplace and, for women with significant others, at home. He backed up his idealism with a slew of policy proposals: granting women more paid sick days, hours off to attend their children's school events, and a minimum wage adjusted for inflation.
The speech was a perfectly timed follow-up to Michelle Obama's speech on working mothers last week (which Dana wrote about). While Michelle avoided much mention of Hillary Clinton, though, Barack concludes with praise of her:
"Standing here today, I know that we have drawn closer to making this America a reality because of the extraordinary woman who I shared a stage with so many times throughout this campaign -- Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. And in the months and years ahead, I look forward to working with her to make progress on the issues that matter to American women and to all American families -- health care and education; support for working parents and an insistence on equality."