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McCain Attacks
Obama During Final Debate, Alienates Female Voters

McCain Attacks
Obama During Final Debate, Alienates Female Voters

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Political pundits seem to generally agree John McCain went into last night's debate aiming for the jugular -- and Barack Obama did everything in his power not to take the bait. But when talk turned to abortion, McCain flew off the handle, questioning why the "pro-abortion movement" concerns itself with the "health" of women. And according to polls during last night's debate, McCain should be concerned with women...because he may well have just lost their vote.

Political pundits seem to generally agree John McCain went into last night's debate aiming for the jugular -- and Barack Obama did everything in his power not to take the bait.

Obama made it clear he wanted to get back to the issues during the final presidential debate of the 2008 election season, held at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. And on one issue in particular, McCain did further damage to his already waning support among women.

When talks turned to abortion rights, McCain took Obama to task for failing to take a position on a late-term abortion ban when he served in the Illinois Senate.

Obama countered, saying he vetoed the measure because it did not include an exception in case the mother's health is in jeopardy.

McCain came back swinging, raising his hands to the air to form quote marks around the word "health" as he countered, saying the explanation had been "stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything."

A CNN ticker showing the reactions of men and women to the debate flatlined for McCain as he spoke of abortion rights, and continued to hover in the basement as talk of health care continued.

Earlier in the night, McCain poked fun at a law protecting a woman's right to sue for being paid less than a man.

In fact, according to a CNN poll taken in real time during the debate, the same support among independent women that McCain hoped to rally with the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket all but vanished last night. Polls showed women in particular responded poorly to McCain's attempts to smear Obama. The Republican presidential hopeful spent much of last night questioning Obama's character and connections.

A CNN telephone poll taken Wednesday night said 62% of women who watched the debate thought Obama won, while 28% thought McCain did.

In 90 minutes, McCain suggested Obama take a trip to Colombia so he could better "understand" the free-trade arrangement, chastised the Illinois senator for refusing to participate in town hall-style meetings and further attempted to connect Obama to '60s radical Bill Ayers.

After laying his past relationship with Ayres out on the table, Obama concluded -- "The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me." (Ross von Metzke, The Advocate)

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