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Culver tours for Obama

Former Iowa first lady says President Obama supports women; doesn’t trust Mitt Romney

October 11, 2012
Jim Krajewski ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Riding in a recreational vehicle painted blue and emblazoned with an Obama logo, former Iowa first lady Mari Culver is touring the state to discuss what the President has done for women during his time in office.

However, Culver said that a number of issues in this election fall under the scope of women's issues. She said issues such as the economy, jobs, healthcare and medicare encompass her broader perspective of women's issues.

"I don't know that there are 'women's issues,' because women are not some homogenous group," Culver said.

Article Photos

Former Iowa First Lady Mari Culver stands next to the RV that is taking her on a tour across the state with people such as Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky, State Rep. Helen Miller and actress Blythe Danner.

As first lady, her primary initiative was seeing to the needs of women and children in shelters across the state. She looked into the causes of women and children living in shelters, made sure shelters were funded appropriately and spoke about domestic violence issues.

One of Culver's focuses is the Lilly Ledbetter act which allows a much larger window for employees to bring equal pay lawsuits against employers. Culver said that the message that President Obama sent to women when he signed the act cannot be understated.

"So what this legislation says to American women, signed by President Obama as his first bill is that women deserve equal pay, and whether lawsuits are brought or not isn't necessarily the greater point. The point is that the President supports women, he supports equality and he supports pay equity," Culver said.

After initially endorsing John Edwards in 2007, in part due to his plans for universal healthcare, she later endorsed and was a delegate for then candidate Barack Obama, and said she was thrilled to do so. Her support of a more universal healthcare system extends to Obamacare.

"What I want people to understand about the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is that it fixes something in this country that has been a problem in the making for decades," Culver said. "That is exclusion of healthcare insurance for preexisting medical conditions."

Culver said an estimated 32 to 112 million people in America have preexisting healthcare conditions. As the law stands now, a person can be denied coverage for a preexisting condition. In 2014, under Obamacare, insurers cannot deny based on preexisting conditions.

Culver contrasted that to Romney's claim in the first Presidential debate where he claimed that he would cover preexisting conditions. After the debate, according to Culver, Romney's campaign backtracked, saying they would leave the decision to cover preexisting conditions to the states. The irony was palpable to Culver, who said the only state in the nation to do that so far was Massachusetts under Governor Mitt Romney.

She also criticized the candidate for his failure to define what deductions, exemptions and loopholes in the tax code he would get rid of to pay for the $4.8 trillion tax cut over 10 years that his plan lays out.

Culver said she was astonished by Romney's comments about the 47 percent of Americans that don't pay income tax. Those comments were recorded at a fundraiser earlier this year and released by Mother Jones in September. Romney said in the video, " job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Romney said, "I was wrong" about his 47 percent comment during an interview with Sean Hannity on Oct. 4, the day after the debate. Culver said it was not an apology, and even if it was, it shouldn't be accepted.

"You can't apologize for something like that," Culver said. "That's not a slip of the tongue, that is not an artful phrase, that is a philosophy of contempt for lower and middle income class people."

Culver gave examples of those in the 47 percent, including single mothers, seniors on social security, students and retired veterans.



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