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Ariana Kelly's picture

Well, here we go again. Virginia seems to be stuck rehashing the culture wars of the 1980's in their Governor's race, but with a new twist. Instead of one side demonizing working women, both sides are loving us up (although one could argue at times it's still a bit patronizing).

Seems that Republican candidate Bob McDonnell said some unfortunate things in his 1989 graduate thesis, including calling working women "materialistic" and this gem opposing tax credits for child care:

"Further expenditures would be used to subsidize a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family by entrenching status-quo of nonparental primary nurture of children,"

But of course, society has changed a lot since then and candidate McDonnell in 2009 really needs the votes of Virginia's working women, so he has completely changed his tune. Back in September, Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post wrote a very interesting column on the what she called McDonnell's "Macaca Moment." She says his main defense is that "he didn't really mean it":

Or if he did mean it, he doesn't any longer. When he wrote his thesis on "The Republican Party's Vision for the Family," McDonnell, you see, was a "college student at the time, albeit a little older college student, within an academic environment and completely not restrained by the real policy world."

Albeit? McDonnell, actually, was 34 in 1989. He had already earned a bachelor's and master's degree in business and served in the Army.

Marcus wasn't the only woman who was skeptical of McDonnell's defense that he was just a kid (at 34), and that hey, he loves working women now. Why, his wife and daughters even work!

What undermines McDonnell's defense? His actual votes against two of MomsRising's platform issues, child care and equal pay for women.

Democrat Creigh Deeds launched a scathing ad highlighting McDonnell's record. But polls still show McDonnell in the lead, so the battle is on, with women voters in everyone's sights. This follow up ad, entitled "Detrimental" hit the airwaves in Virginia last month.

These ads seem to be working, with some polls showing dramatic shifts in the opinions of independent women after news of McDonnell's thesis broke.

McDonnell countered these attacks with his own ad, entitled "Trust" featuring women he himself employed when he was Attorney General. He is also airing another ad, featuring his daughter, and Iraq war vet, called "Working Woman."

OK, so he hires women. His wife and daughters like him. Maybe he's not such a bad guy after all. People can change. But wait, there's more! This competition for women's votes is not over until election day, November 3. And right now, independent women voters are split right down the middle.

Real live women in Virginia have now formed an independent group to combat McDonnell. Check out this ad from Working Women for Virginia entitled "Ridiculous", featuring real women, who are really opposed to Bob McDonnell. You can even join Working Women for Virginia on Facebook if you're so inclined.

So what do you think? Should women voters overlook words Bob McDonnell wrote in the 1980's? And what about his more recent votes against child care and equal pay? Moms of America, tell us what you really think!

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