When President Barack Obama blasted Senate Republicans Wednesday night for blocking a Democratic-supported bill that would address the gap between men's and women's pay in the U.S., he singled out one female Senate candidate in his remarks.
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 is running for Michigan's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat against Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) On Tuesday, which was ironically Equal Pay Day, a video surfaced showing a 2010 speech in which Land explained to an audience why equal pay is not as important to women:
"Well, we all like to be paid more and that's great, but the reality is that women have a different lifestyle," Land said at the 2010 Senior Women's Club event. "They have kids. They have to take them to get dentist appointments, doctors appointments, all those kinds of things. And they're more interested in flexibility in a job than pay."
A full video of the speech in which the comments originated adds some context to Land's comments. The candidate was telling a story from her time as Kent County (Mich.) clerk, supervising a staff that was 85 percent female. In the full speech, Land explains that United Auto Workers union always negotiates for more money and raises, remarking, "They're a little male organization, have you ever noticed that? A little heavy on that." Land claimed that her employees wanted the flexibility of personal days and quasi-managerial opportunities more than pay, "although pay's important, too," she added.
Thursday, she tweeted a response:
Why does it have to be one or the other? In my Administration, women got higher pay, flex time, and more management opportunities. #MISen
— Terri Lynn Land (@TerriLLand) April 10, 2014
Although Land is making headlines for her fundraising prowess, a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling shows her trailing incumbent Rep. Gary Peters (D) 36 percent to 41 percent. The race for Michigan's Senate seat is one of the nation's toughest midterm campaigns.
UPDATE: 3:10 p.m. -- Land's campaign just released a statement describing Obama's comments as "shameful political attacks."
"President Obama fails to address his own shortcomings as both a male employer and a male politician. According to his own math, the President doesn't even pay the women on his staff equally. And also, he endorsed Congressman Peters, another male politician who pays the women he employs even less -- just 67 cents for every dollar a man makes.
The President was in Michigan just a few days ago, and he could have met and had a real discussion about not only women and flexibility in the workplace, but also about women losing their doctors because of ObamaCare, families spending too much time trying to find good-paying jobs, and families having to pay more to put food on their tables, gas in their tanks, and send their kids to college.
Mr. President, if you want to have a real discussion about women, I'd love to introduce you to Melissa from Troy who switched jobs so that she could have more flexibility, or the Davert family in Bay County who lost their health plan because of ObamaCare.
Until then, I'd politely suggest that you focus your efforts on getting our economy going so that women truly have the opportunity to be successful and provide for their families."