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The race to the Presidency. With the November election fast approaching, things are really heating up! At the center of this massive political heat wave is, believe it or not, a federal budget proposal. This budget proposal has been called the “Path to Prosperity” by those who wrote it. But on the other hand, it’s also been called the “Reverse Robin Hood” budget, and it’s even been called the “blueprint for dismantling the American middle class.”

So why is this budget at the center for the race to the presidency? Because of what it tells us about where the candidates really stand on policies that are critical to women and families. After all, the author of this highly controversial federal budget proposal is none other than Rep. Paul Ryan who was recently selected as the vice presidential candidate to run alongside Mitt Romney.

*LISTEN in to the lively radio program to hear all about it here (And scroll down this blog post to read interview excerpts from the show):

On this show we cover the race to the Presidency, what the Rep. Ryan budget proposal tells us about where candidates stand on a wide variety of public policies that impact us all, and more. We also explore the history of the Vice Presidency, including asking the critical question of: Are we going backwards because neither party has a woman on the ticket this election cycle? And we uncover how you can make a difference and be sure that your vote--and the votes of your friends and family--actually count on Election Day.

It’s a great show. We have a fantastic lineup of guests, including a member of Congress, policy and budget experts, a rock star political media expert and more. There is going to be a tremendous amount of information coming at you during this election season. So stay tuned to MomsRising Radio each week as we bring you the very latest.

Everybunny is listening to MomsRising Radio w/ Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. This bunny knows 100% more about the Ryan budget proposal than she did before listening.

Special guests include:

  • Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center
  • Representative Donna Edwards, U.S. Congresswoman
  • Ilyse Hogue, Author and Co-Director of Friends of Democracy
  • Dr. Kathleen Jamieson, Author, Professor, and Political Media Expert
  • Barbara Arnwine, Author and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

***LISTEN to the "MomsRising with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner" radio show here:

“Race to the Presidency” MomsRising with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner Radio Show Highlights:

Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center:

On the potential impact that Representative Paul Ryan’s budget will have on women and families: (At 2:20 on iTunes

“Okay, in brief, what the Ryan budget does is slash federal programs for the poor and the middle class and give huge new tax breaks to the very wealthy and corporations. So it’s Robin Hood in reverse. But what makes it a women’s issue is that women are far more likely to be poor and economically insecure than men, especially if they’re single moms. And your listeners really know the reasons for that: They know about the wage gap, about the responsibilities that they have for unpaid care giving, about the high cost of childcare and more. So I think they get that when the programs that help women protect their health, obtain quality childcare, pay for college, meet their family’s basic needs -- when these programs are cut, it’s women that get hurt the most.”

On programs that the Ryan budget will cut: (At 4:45 on iTunes

“Virtually every single program in the federal government, other than defense, which gets a big increase, is cut. In fact, all of the programs that Congress has to fund every year - we call them discretionary programs in Washington speak. They’re the funding for education. They’re funding for childcare. They’re funding for housing and energy assistance. They’re funding for food safety. You know, to make sure the tainted food doesn’t go to our children. They’re funding - it’s funding for clean water and clean air. It’s funding for medical research, national parks, public safety. You name it. Those programs are overall subject to a cut of 22 percent - 22 percent by 2014.”

"There it is in the Ryan budget, repeal the Affordable Care Act. It also, separate from the cuts to the Affordable Care Act and its expansions of health care, cuts the existing Medicaid program very deeply, and turns it into a block grant that the states would have charge of. This would cause over 14 million low-income Americans to lose coverage over the next 10 years, and that’s especially painful for women because women are 70 percent of the adult recipients of Medicaid. These are women who are pregnant, mothers in low-income families, and elders in nursing homes who are overwhelmingly women. So they're the ones who are hurt by the Medicaid cuts."

U.S. Representative Donna Edwards:

On Rep. Paul Ryan's budget:

"All of the talk about Paul Ryan being a nice guy, that’s true. But the fact is, he would be doing really detrimental things to and for women and children, in particular in his budget. Not the least of which, I know in my district, we have a lot of women of color who are dying at alarming rates of aggressive breast cancer, and so the idea that Paul Ryan’s budget would actually take out 326,000 women for breast cancer screenings would be devastating for our district, devastating for the country."

On the impact of women’s voter turnout and mobilization with not having a women at the top of the ticket for the first time in over eight years, (At 21:43 on iTunes

“I think it’s important whether the candidate is a man or woman to speak to the majority of the electorate, which are women. And to speak to the issues that concern us. This notion that somehow women are just relegated to discussing so-called women’s issues, I think is so wrong. I’m a mom. You’re a mom. And what we know is that every single issue that has to do with whether we’re able to send our children to college and not; whether our schools are working in our communities; whether our spouses and significant others are actually able to have jobs in the economy that allow us to take care of our families; whether our parents are being taken care of as they age in the kind of way that we expect because they worked so hard. These are all issues that concern all of us as Americans, and particularly for women who are often caretakers and are often left at the end of our lives on our own, which is why things like the questions of what we do with Social Security and Medicare are so important to women, because very often as we begin to age, as we’re left at the end of our lives, we’re on our own.”

On how women in Congress influence the kinds of legislation and the kinds of budget proposals that are introduced: (At 23:20on iTunes

“No question about the fact that having women, both in Congress and in significant policy making positions, makes a huge difference. The fact that when we passed the Affordable Care Act, what people describe as ObamaCare (and I’m glad they do because I know he cares), [there were women in leadership]. The fact that we were able to pass that out of the Congress and that it had provisions in there that made sure that Medicare savings were put into preventive care and made sure that older women and others could get mammograms and colonoscopies; that made sure that we were actually focusing on diseases that impact women.”

“It also turns out that there have been studies that have shown that women are actually more effective policy makers; that we actually bring more resources back to our community; that if we make grants to women in developing nations take those things back to their community. And the fact is, men just don’t do the same thing.”

Ilyse Hogue, Author and Co-Director of Friends of Democracy

On labeling Ryan’s proposed budget a “blueprint for dismantling the American middle class” in her CNN article: (At 30:13 on iTunes

“Ryan elevates what we think of as a poor character flaw of selfishness into an ideology. A devotee of Ayn Rand, he actually believes that America is best when we all act independently, selfishly with absolutely no regard for our neighbor’s, our community’s needs. That’s how we actually became the strong functioning country that we are with a robust middle class, which was all about collective bargaining, all about the social safety net; that allowed all Americans to have equal opportunity to make something of themselves. So the way he’s actualized that in his budget is by dismantling all of the guarantees, all of the programs that we pay into as taxpayers. It’s our salaries that go into the savings funds for Medicare and Social Security and what Ryan is saying is, “You no longer should have the guarantee to those savings that you made. Let’s in fact forget about funding things like SNAP, which is the nutritional benefits program that 90 percent of families in poverty depend on to feed their children. In fact, he’s saying - essentially his budget is the Darwinian equivalent of survival of the fittest and you know, for most Americans, that is just not the way we see ourselves, as members of our community and our country. And it’s certainly not what built our middle class. And if something like the Ryan budget were to be enacted, you know, we’ve already got a failing middle class, it would just rip the heart right out of it.”

On the efforts as co-director of the Friends of Democracy, which is a super PAC championing campaign finance reform: (At 38:55 on iTunes

“I’ve always done quite a bit of work actually on campaign finance reform because I think it sort of goes to the heart of all the other struggles we have with our democracy. Democracy at its core is messy but out of that messiness when everybody has an equal voice, an equal say, equal attention of their elected representative, there do come some really positive and beautiful solutions. What we’re experiencing now is that everybody doesn’t have an equal voice or equal access to their representatives because of the amount of money that is going into the system and what’s required to run a viable campaign these days.”

Dr. Kathleen Jamieson, Political Media Expert

On good journalism and accurate fact checking the Ryan budget: (At 44:19 on iTunes

“The Ryan budget had received enough coverage in network news and in newspapers with some excellent fact checking in newspapers as well, that the Washington correspondents were familiar with it. And as a result, are comfortable making judgments quickly while the issue was still being pushed into the agenda by both of the political campaigns. You didn’t have the usual lag that you have as they figure out what’s actually going on and what the technical details are. You also have four major fact-checking operations that are operating this year. I work with one of those. is an operation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, which I direct. And we have a second cite, which is designed for younger viewers. But you also have PolitiFact, The Washington Post, and the AP doing fact checking and on this issue, there’s no disagreement about what was in that budget and what was in the Affordable Care Act and what the impact is.”

On the double standard: Men and women running for VP: (At 47:45 on iTunes

"One of the problems in media coverage of Sarah Palin, and it manifests itself in obvious and in subtle ways, was that the assumption was that she had to establish her competence; that her competence wasn’t a given. Now you could say that, well perhaps that’s because she was a governor. Perhaps she hadn’t been a governor very long. But nonetheless, when she made errors, she was held to a level of accountability that male candidates were not. And we had an example in the vice presidential debate. When vice presidential candidate Joe Biden put the executive powers in the wrong Article of the Constitution, the fact checkers didn’t comment on his competences as a result. In fact, most of them missed it. When she got the first name of a general wrong, it was taken as a sign that she was ignorant and unprepared. Now if you had to have - which of those is more important? I’d say understanding what is where in the Constitution is. That was a gender difference. And whether you think she was qualified to be president or not, I think it’s reasonable to say, she was held to a different standard. Also, in the convention when she is speaking and one of the network commentators observed that, her child was being passed by one of the daughters to another of the daughters, and wondered about it. You have to ask the question, “Why was anybody even commenting on it?” If it were a male at the podium and a female passing a baby back and forth, would that have been noteworthy?"

On Hillary Clinton:

“The discussion of Hillary Clinton’s appearance and the interesting The New York Times, after-campaign analysis, in which in defiance of its own polls, it’s analysis of the reason she didn’t become the nominee, said that she hadn’t passed the Commander in Chief threshold. Now one of its polls actually had shown earlier that year that voters thought she had. So why did they say that? They said that because they made the assumption it was difficult for a women to do that. It’s very hard to see our own stereotypically based prejudices. But when they’re filtered through media, they’re reinforcing all of those subtle, you know, not necessarily disclosed prejudices, in the rest of us, in ways that make it much more difficult to dislodge them."

On breaking down the media’s sexist stereotypes about how they define women who are running for office: (At 53:35 on iTunes

“I think we need to worry not just about sexist stereotypes, but ageist stereotypes. Because age and gender interact in order to create a pernicious trap for the older female candidate. We know that male candidates are perceived to get wiser as they age. But female candidates - we’re just not accustomed to seeing enough of them as they age and we’re gonna have that question with Hillary Clinton. If President Obama doesn’t win re-election, is Hillary Clinton considered too old to run for president or not? It’s going to be a really interesting test. And so I think the question is, when we reinforce those kinds of assumptions about age, whether male or female, are we hurting female candidates in ways that we’re not recognizing? There were age stereotypes that were reinforced about John McCain. Lots of not so subtle suggestions from the Obama advertising that he was just too old to be president of the United States. When you reinforce age stereotypes and you know that perceptions of aging hurt women more than men, as they move into executive positions in the workforce.”

Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

On Voter supression: (At 58:02 on iTunes

“Voter suppression is any effort to keep legitimate voters from being able to exercise their right to vote and to have their vote counted. So it is laws that are passed by states that make it hard for anyone to vote unless they have a certain form of photo ID, meaning in many of the states, some 10 states in our country, they have passed laws saying that you cannot vote unless you have a photo identification issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles at their state.”

“It impacts people. It impacts race and minorities. It impacts the elderly. It impacts students who often times don’t have photo IDs and cars. It impacts youth. It impacts people with disabilities. It impacts quite a lot of people and it certainly impacts women disproportionately because women do in fact change their names when they get married. They change their names when they get divorced. And their identifications don’t always match up. And it’s very, very hard now because of budget cuts and other problems to find a Department of Motor Vehicles nearby your home. It’s estimated that one-fifth of all our population lives very far from a Department of Motor Vehicle place where they can get an identification. So it also has really horrible impacts on people who are poor, people who don’t have cars, and people who rely on public transportation.”

On the new voting requirements: (At 1:02 on iTunes

"In 2008, it’s estimated that 11 percent of all people who voted in the 2008 presidential election did not have a driver’s license or a non-driver’s license issued by their Department of Motor Vehicles of their state. Some 25 million people...Most voters are not thinking about the election right now. They’re assuming that if they voted in 2008, that they are good. And that’s what they’ll tell you. 'Oh I don’t have any problems because I voted in 2008.' They have no idea that these new laws have been passed. They have no idea what the new requirements are, and they’re going to be shocked when they show up at the polls. Now, the other voter suppression method that’s being used is cutting back on early voting.”

"Remember one of the beauties of 2008 is so many voters were able to vote ahead of time without having to just vote on that Tuesday. They were able to actually vote for some two weeks in advance and so people who had problems were able to discover them early. Well guess what? A lot of the states have cut back on the early voting; and some have specifically cut back on that Sunday before the election when many churches ran what were called “Take the Souls to the Polls Program.” And in fact, in Florida, it’s estimated that 30 percent of all African Americans voted that Sunday before the election in 2008.”

On where people can go to learn if they are registered to vote and have their voting questions answered: (At 1:06 on iTunes

“They can call our hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, 1-866-687-8683. That’s 1-866-OUR-VOTE, 1-866-687-8683. And you can talk to a live person on the line who will help answer any questions you have about what are the voter ID laws in your state. Am I registered? They can look up your registration. If you want to know where is my polling place, they can help you with so many of your questions, “I’m an ex-felon, can I vote?” “I’m overseas, can I vote?” All of these questions that people have. So please, please, call 1-866-687-8683 and we can help. Plus we have a new mobile app. So go to our website,,, and you will find a new mobile app that you can put on your smart phone where you can verify your registration, verify your polling place and find out how to get your ID and any other questions that you have. Please people, be a voting champion. Know your rights here and be the best voter you can be.”

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