This week, President Obama has tried to rev up his base by flogging an obviously false statistic. It hasn’t gone as well as planned, partly because the media dropped its usual obsequiousness by questioning the assumptions of the claim that women make 77 cents for each dollar earned by men for the same work.
Turns out that when you control for different career choices, different hours worked, different amounts of time on the job, the supposed pay gap all but evaporates.
It also turns out that the White House has a significant pay gap — they claim it’s for the same reasons you see it in the general work force — and that didn’t help messaging so much.
But President Obama kept at it. On Wednesday night, for instance, he was at one of the many Democratic fundraisers he attended this week. There he singled out one Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for attack, Terry Lynn Land. According to the Huffington Post:
Obama didn’t mention Terri Lynn Land by name. But according to the White House press pool report from a Democratic fundraiser in Houston, he expressed his frustration with “Republican obstructionism” on a number of issues, including equal pay, and mentioned “a GOP Senate candidate in Michigan, not by name, who defended the gender gap in pay as a result of women’s choices.” “Very rarely do you meet people who make the choice to be paid less for doing the same job,” Obama said.
Land of course didn’t say that women choose to be paid less for doing the same job. That’s a false claim by Obama. What she said was that women prefer flexibility in their jobs, an inconvenient reality for the pay gap truthers in the White House.
President Obama knew about what she said because the day before a liberal super PAC that conducts opposition research to aid Democratic candidates and organizations released video of Land saying this true thing. Just a side note that this PAC is led by David Brock, funded with millions of dollars from George Soros, and affiliated with top brass from Harry Reid’s shop. You can watch their hit here.
Now, it turns out that Land was talking about how unions always negotiate for more money when she wishes that unions would care a bit more about women’s concerns about flexibility. And she talked about how her employees wanted personal days and quasi-managerial opportunities, “although pay’s important, too,” she added.
In the real world, this isn’t controversial. This is just backed by survey after survey showing that female employees really want flexible work environments.
But if the real concerns of normal women aren’t sufficient to get the White House off this brazen political maneuver that hurts working women, maybe Claire Shipman could help.
In an otherwise laughable and utterly bizarre profile in Washingtonian magazine, Claire Shipman accidentally says the exact same thing as the GOP Senate candidate that President Obama lambasted:
Both Shipman and Carney are committed to being engaged parents—but it’s tough. Carney rises at 5:30, before the rest of the family, to scour the day’s news. At 6:30, he wakes everyone up. “The kids go off to school, and I head to the White House at the same time—about 7:25 am,” he says. Carney tries to get home by 8, before his kids go to bed, but he’s often traveling or interrupted by work. “Sometimes I’ll miss a meeting in order to make it home in time,” he says. “And sometimes I’ll take a day off entirely so I can be a parent chaperone on a school field trip. I still definitely feel I miss too much—but I do try to be there as much as I can.” Shipman works part-time now for ABC News, something she’s done for five years, which has given her more flexibility to write and hang out with her children. Flexibility, she says, is what most working mothers really want.
Now, I don’t know if President Obama is as upset with Shipman, who is the wife of his press secretary Jay Carney, as he is Land. But it might be worth it for some reporters to find out.