In an op-ed in The New York Times, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown ripped President Obama for being grating and condescending and that he should stop it:
My bigger concern is that in courting women, Mr. Obama’s campaign so far has seemed maddeningly off point. His message to the Barnard graduates was that they should fight for a “seat at the table” — the head seat, he made sure to add. He conceded that it’s a tough economy, but he told the grads, “I am convinced you are tougher” and “things will get better — they always do.”
Hardly reassuring words when you look at the reality. According to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, about 53.6 percent of men and women under the age of 25 who hold bachelor’s degrees were jobless or underemployed last year, the most in at least 11 years. According to the Pew Research Center, if we broaden the age group to 18- to 29-year-olds, an estimated 37 percent are unemployed or out of the work force, the highest share in more than three decades.
Brown also said that the Obama campaign ad, “The Life of Julia,” is “a silly and embarrassing caricature based on the assumption that women look to government at every meaningful phase of their lives for help,” and doesn’t represent any of the women she knows in her life.
She then mentioned a cousin in Louisiana and another family member, both single moms who have been unemployed since the economy tanked and who have relied on friends and family, not the government, for help. Brown said they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brown, who is married to Romney adviser Dan Senor, concluded her piece by saying that while she admired President Obama and even agreed with him on some issues, he needs to change his tone if he wants to connect with women.
I have always admired President Obama and I agree with him on some issues, like abortion rights. But the promise of his campaign four years ago has given way to something else — a failure to connect with tens of millions of Americans, many of them women, who feel economic opportunity is gone and are losing hope. In an effort to win them back, Mr. Obama is trying too hard. He’s employing a tone that can come across as grating and even condescending. He really ought to drop it. Most women don’t want to be patted on the head or treated as wards of the state. They simply want to be given a chance to succeed based on their talent and skills. To borrow a phrase from our president’s favorite president, Abraham Lincoln, they want “an open field and a fair chance.”
The Obama campaign may do well to heed Brown’s advice since the latest CNN/New York Times poll has the President trailing Romney by two points among women.