by Paul Goldman
In an extraordinary “shout out”, President Obama yesterday directly challenged Governor McConnell on the ultrasound issue. Speaking to a Democratic Party sponsored forum on issues, the President reached across the Potomac River to show how crucial the VA debate on ultrasounds – and the state’s new law created by the Governor – will be to the 2012 presidential race.
As a practical political matter, it is most unusual for the top of the ticket to single out a potential running mate of the other party. Moreover, it was an in-your-face challenge to Romney: I dare you to pick McDonnell as your VEEP choice.
One takeaway: It shows that national Democrats are taking McDonnell seriously as a VEEP choice given Virginia’s importance. So, in that sense, it raises McDonnell’s national stature.
But anyone who studies election returns knows the importance of the “gender gap” – women favoring Democrats and men siding more with the GOP – as perhaps the key stat to the 2012 election. This was also true in 2008, which led Senator John McCain to choose former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in a desperate, but flawed effort, to bridge the gender gap.
Right now, the gender gap has seldom been larger.
The ultrasound issue here in Virginia symbolizes the 2012 race right now in many respects.
SO: Does Romney double-dare the President by choosing McConnell?
Or, has the President scared Romney enough to not choose McDonnell?
Gotta love the mind games here.