Suzanne Fields

There's a new woman voter out there. Empowered women are holding themselves to the same standard they hold men to, and it's showing up in the public opinion polls. Female concerns over the debt and the deficit, not the usual gender issues, have dramatically increased as the Nov. 6 election bears down upon us.

The Gallup Poll now shows Mitt Romney trailing the president by only a point among women who are likely to vote in 12 swing states. This follows a Pew Research Center poll taken after the first presidential debate showing that President Obama's 18-point lead among women had shrunk to a tie, 47 percent to 47 percent.

"In every poll, we've seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney," Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told USA Today after the first debate. These polls find women increasingly concerned with the deficit and debt, just like men. The social issues continue to be more important to women than to men, but these issues no longer dominate the discussion.

Hillary Clinton's famous needling of Barack Obama four years ago -- "the buck stops in the Oval Office" -- suggested that he didn't have the leadership qualities required in a president. She reprised the theme this week, inadvertently or not, when she fell on the president's sword to take the blame for the national-security fiasco in Libya.

Her attempt to rescue the president with her declaration that "the buck stops with me" follows the litany of mixed metaphors in search of someone to blame for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in the terrorist assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The president stands accused of "throwing Hillary under the bus," she's accused of "getting Obama off the hook," and the State Department has become the "broken link" in "the chain of events" of a major security failure. The "failure of intelligence" contributes a new definition of incompetence at the highest levels of government.

When a president hides behind the skirt, or actually the pantsuit, of his secretary of state, it's enough to tempt even a feminist to put national security above the social issues.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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