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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a number of other Democratic Congresswomen held a news conference at Democratic National Committee headquarters Wednesday to praise Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) policies for women and the economy — and to denounce Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.).

“Consider the record — on Equal Pay for Women, Barack Obama says yes, John McCain says no,” Pelosi said. “Barack Obama says equal pay for women is essential, John McCain suggests that women get paid less because they need more education and training. On health care for 10 million American children, Barack Obama says yes, John McCain says no.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) also argued that Obama is the better choice for lessening the wage gap between men and women.

“Women feel the effects of this economy’s failing with greater force and poignancy,” DeLauro said. “So many pushed to the edge by soaring prices and shrinking incomes. Women are losing jobs at a faster rate than men. Incomes for women-headed households are down 3 percent since 2000, half of women are in jobs without a retirement plan, while one- fifth of women do not have health care —one-third live in poverty, and contributing to all of that, women still earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. Barack Obama recognizes this pay gap, knows it’s wrong and wants to do something to change it.”

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said McCain’s health care plan would hurt employers.

“Sen. McCain wants to dramatically restructure our health care system, which would hit women the hardest,” DeGette said. “What he wants to do is take away employer-based health care and have people buy their own health care and, on top of that, to tax their benefits.”

Asked about the effect Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could have on the GOP ticket’s ability to draw female voters, DeGette said most of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) supporters now back Obama.

“These people who are saying that they’re not supporting Barack Obama, I suspect that none of them never were supporting Barack Obama, they’re just fronts,” DeGette said. “Women of America understand what’s good for them with pay equity, with health care and every other issue, and when they hear about this, they will vote in droves for Barack Obama.”

Pelosi then interjected that there were Clinton supporters in the room.

“Many of the women who are here were leaders in the Clinton Campaign,” Pelosi said.

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