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Published: Saturday, 10/20/2012

Campaign hosts round table; Bowersox to meet volunteers

Actress Alfre Woodard speaks Friday during a women's roundtable at Petit Fours Bakery. The event was part of the Obama administration's "Women Decide 2012" initiative. Actress Alfre Woodard speaks Friday during a women's roundtable at Petit Fours Bakery. The event was part of the Obama administration's "Women Decide 2012" initiative.

Seeking to tap into the concerns of women voters, President Obama’s campaign sent a tour featuring three prominent Democratic women to Toledo to hold a round table discussion with area women leaders Friday.

And that tour broadens today with singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox, the 2010 American Idol finalist, who will meet with Obama campaign volunteers at the Sylvania field office, 5834 Monroe St., at 9:30 a.m. At 1 p.m., the Elliston, Ohio, native, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), will be at the campaign’s field office in Port Clinton, 131-A Maple St.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, actress Alfre Woodard, and union President Mary Kay Henry tried to make the case with about 20 local women leaders about the importance of President Obama’s re-election in an hour-long event at Petit Fours Patisserie & Cafe, at the Historic Oliver House, 27 Broadway St., Friday.

“We have a President who works every day for 100 percent of Americans. We’ve made tremendous progress, and that’s what I’m concerned about — coming out and protecting the progress that we have made,” Ms. Woodard said.

“He doesn’t have to look in a binder to find us because it’s in his DNA to recognize women who are hard-working, who are capable,” Ms. Woodard said, referring to Republican Mitt Romney’s statement in the debate Tuesday that as governor of Massachusetts he was given “binders of women” as candidates for positions in his office.

Among the local women present were Democratic elected officials Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, state Rep. Teresa Fedor of Toledo, and Toledo Councilman Paula Hicks-Hudson.

Ms. Jarrett, who was participating in the Toledo event in her private capacity as a Democratic strategist according to the Obama campaign, said women supporters of Mr. Obama are concerned about Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the Lily Ledbetter Act giving women rights to sue for equal pay for equal work.

The tour is part of what the campaign is calling its “Women Decide 2012” initiative.

The three women and their entourage encouraged the local women to vote early and to talk up Mr. Obama to help win the state for Ohio.

Ms. Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, pointed out that the unemployment rate is “slowly coming down” and that Mr. Obama’s 2009 auto rescue saved a lot of jobs in Ohio.

“We think the President grabbed us from the jaws of a Great Depression when he took office and systematically took steps to recover the economy,” Ms. Henry said.

The Romney campaign responded to the Obama event by saying that almost 6 million women are unemployed nationally and under President Obama, the number of women living in poverty across the United States has climbed to a record high of nearly 26 million.

“Despite the President’s best efforts and his lofty rhetoric, as Bill Clinton said [Thursday] in Ohio, ‘The economy is not fixed.’ People are hurting in the Obama economy, and women especially have been suffering,” Romney spokesman Catherine Gatewood said. “We haven’t heard a specific plan or concrete proposals detailing how the next four years will be any different than the last four years. Barack Obama has no explanation for the failures of his economic policies, no record to run on, and no agenda for a second term to help get women back to work.”

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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