At the University of Florida, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm explained difference between the two candidates on fair pay:
"I was watching the rerun of Meet the Press on the Gotta Vote bus, and your senator was on. You know what he said on Meet the Press this morning? Your Senator Rubio said that the Romney administration would probably not have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. He said that the Lilly Ledbetter Act was nothing more than a gift to trial lawyers, nothing more than that.
"There would be huge problems for women with a Romney administration. In fact I happen to have my binder—a binder full of policies that the Obama administration supports on behalf of women. Polices like fair pay, like access to contraception, like freedom of choice.
"Women are half the population, but between women's issues and jobs, this matters to 100 percent of the population. And I'm glad we have a president who stands up for us."
As mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson has seen firsthand how President Obama's policies on clean energy, infrastructure, and education have had a positive impact on his city. And with this year's presidential race reaching an apex, Johnson told the Obama campaign to put him to work and send him anywhere they needed him. That's how the Californian found himself in North Carolina this week, campaigning in one of the most critical states in this year's election. It doesn't hurt that this is basketball country—because before he was Mayor Johnson, he was KJ, an all-star who played for the Phoenix Suns.
"Right now, we're in the fourth quarter," Johnson says, "and we're up maybe by a point or two. The other side is digging deep. They're going to try to make a run. We have to open up the lead." And now that early voting has begun statewide, he's here to get out the vote.
Four years ago, President Obama won North Carolina by just 14,000 votes—five per precinct—and it was the first time the Tar Heel State had voted to send a Democrat to the White House in 32 years. It's going to be close, Johnson says, and it's going to come down to the volunteers and organizers on the ground. But North Carolina has a chance to decide our next president: If Mitt Romney doesn't win North Carolina, it's going to be extremely difficult for him to win the White House.
And what about those reports that the Romney campaign is pulling out of North Carolina? Don't fall for it, says Johnson. "In basketball, that's called a head fake. North Carolina, we can expand the lead here. We gotta play to win. We gotta get people out to the polls."
Polls are officially open in North Carolina. At Gotta Vote bus stops at Wilson and Greenville this afternoon, our chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, let the women of North Carolina, know just how much is at stake for their family's bottom line.
"Mitt Romney still can't give women a straight answer on where he stands on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Simple question: If you were president, would you have signed it? But he won't answer. The President, we know, that was the first bill he signed into law. He understands.
"The other night, President Obama talked about the crucial role that women play as breadwinners in American families. And Mitt Romney talked about us as resumes in a binder. Do you feel like a resume in a binder? I know I'm not. I also know that I don't need a president who thinks the only reason I need help balancing work and family is so I can rush home and cook dinner for my husband. Women are so much more than that.
"President Obama has clearly showed us he understands that we are so often the breadwinners in our family, the heads of our households, the key to the economic success of families all across this country. The fact is, women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for doing the same work. That costs the typical woman $431,000 over the course of her career. That is real money in North Carolina, and it's real money in Weston, Florida, where I'm from. And I refuse to accept that for my two daughters, who are 13 and 9 years old. Because like President Obama's daughters, we want to make sure that their future is as bright as possible."
Valerie Jarrett was in Hempstead, New York, at last night's debate—giving her a front-row seat to Mitt Romney's disastrous answers on women's issues.
Today, Jarrett joined the Gotta Vote bus tour in Greensboro, North Carolina, and spoke about the clear contrast between a candidate whose answer to an equal pay question was "binders full of women" and a President whose first piece of legislation helped women fight pay discrimination:
"Do you know what he thinks about every morning, in addition to you? His daughters. As he said last night, he wants them to grow up [with the same opportunities as our sons], which is why the first bill he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—equal pay for equal work.
"Twice we tried to get additional legislation passed through the Congress: the Paycheck Fairness Act. Not a single Republican voted for that, and it would've given women more teeth to go after employers who aren't paying them fairly.
"You know the other thing the president was clear on last night: He believes a woman should be able to choose what to do with her own body"My mother, who's 83, was talking to my daughter, who's 26. My mother said, "I can't believe you might have to fight the same battles I fought decades ago. That's not right. That's going backward." Romney's economic plan goes backward, his social policies go backward. He's backward. Which way are we? Forward. Which way are we going to go? Forward."
It's pretty clear to these North Carolinians who won the debate last night.
Janet from Winston-Salem:
"President Obama was so engaged. He made good points about health care, especially points about women's issues. Mitt Romney's not really for women's issues. His explanation of his stance on equal pay was so bizarre—and the one thing that stuck out for me was how he said he understood it because he had a woman who had to leave early to make dinner for her kids. I thought, he just doesn't get it at all."
Tony from High Point:
"Last night, Barack Obama was the president we elected in '08—the president who will continue to do the job from 2012–2016. The President stood toe to toe with Romney and spoke about that 47 percent. There's an old passage, what you do in the dark will come to light. Romney spoke something behind closed doors that was the true heart of the man. Then, in public, he says something else. You cannot trust a guy like that. The President has been consistent. It's a tough job, but he's done well."
Dan from Winston-Salem:
"President Obama did a great job last night. I watched it all. The moment when Romney tried and failed to nail him on his comment [on Libya] in the Rose Garden was priceless. To me, it showed how Romney comes across as hard and uncaring and Obama comes across as caring for the people."
Jo from High Point:
"President Obama did excellent. He showed he's presidential, but he got Romney on Libya, he got him on immigration, he got him on health care. He showed Romney for who he is: someone who tells everyone what they want to hear and then lets his surrogates walk it back. That is not what a candidate for president is supposed to do."
Ellen from Winston-Salem:
"Romney was flustered last night. The President was much more clear. He just stated his case so much more succinctly, especially on women's issues. Romney's been back and forth—women can't trust him. I think we have to go with someone who's actually done what's in our best interest."
"Binders full of women"—those four words encapsulate everything Mitt Romney's offering American women in this election. If that phrase makes you shake your head, help us make sure Romney is not setting policy on everything from health care to equal pay for the next four years.
Check out this email from our finance director, Hildy Kuryk, on why Romney just doesn't get it, then chip in $5 or whatever you can to fight back.
Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt to American women that he is not with us.
He does not share our dreams, or understand our experience. When asked about workplace equality, he only offered a revealing anecdote about "binders full of women."
Compare that to our president's response: "These are not just women's issues. These are family issues, these are economic issues, and one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are."
That's the vision and leadership we need for our kids, our mothers, our sisters -- all Americans. But we need to fight for it.