On Sunday, I wrote an article about the GOP's poor messaging on the “war on women” narrative. I posted some comments from Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., who said GOP men need to bring their messages “down to a woman's level.”
Ellmers called me a “liberal woman reporter” and said I had taken her quote “completely out of context.”
Below are her full comments from the event Friday, along with the audio of her segment. I have bolded the comments I used in my original post.
And we are, I will tell you that definitely at chairing the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, that has been one of our main goals; is really working with our male colleagues.
Tone matters. How you speak to people matters.
One of the things that I will say and that I want – especially when we’re talking about people, so thank you all for being here – is that, we have a tendency to turn people off right away, depending on what’s being said. Some of that has nothing to do with what we say, it’s the perception – you know, perception becomes reality – and if there’s – if someone knows that you’re a Republican, if someone knows I’m a Republican, I many times don’t even really talk about that, I just start having the conversation.
And people, you know, especially young women, ‘You’re a Republican? I had no idea.” Why? Because of how – yeah – how we are painted. And so, they’re so surprised.
Women, by and large, agree with us on all of the issues. If you go through each issue, they agree. It’s how we are able to articulate ourselves – make sure that we’re getting the point across that we care, before we do anything else. That we relate to them, understand what every woman in this country is dealing with.
Especially moms, you know we balance so many different things, you know. Or school. Think about what many of you are doing, you know, you’re trying to maintain that job, you know, you’ve got to be moving up in your career. All these different things are coming in at the same time.
Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level. You know, one of the things that has always been one of my frustrations and I speak about this all the time – many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and, you know, how the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.
But by starting off that discussion that way, we’ve already turned people away. Because it’s like ‘that doesn’t affect my life, I don’t understand how that affects my life.’
So one of the things that we have worked with, with our male colleagues – and I have seen a difference, I will tell you I’ve seen a difference – is to again, engaging individuals on their level. Talking about them on a personal level first. Making sure that when we speak to individuals, we’re coming from the perspective that we care about what’s happening in your life. We know that these things – that the agenda of the Obama administration, the Obama economy, has been hurting you and your family consistently. Obamacare is hurting your family.
And then starting to talk about the solutions. One of the things – and you heard this from all of my colleagues – women are wanting commonsense solutions. Stop the ‘no, no, no, we’re against, we’re against, we’re against.’ Tell us what you are for.
That’s what women want to hear. Tell us how you’re going to fix it.
The biggest need that women have is more time. We all want more time in our lives. More time in the morning to get ready. More time in the evening to spend time with our families. All of these things – more time to move up that career path. It’s about time. And we have to make sure that women understand that we understand that.
We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life – that’s the way to go.
And many of our male colleagues are starting something that I think is very important: Utilizing – especially when we’re talking about the war on women – they are saying, you know ‘I have a wife, I have daughters, I have a mother, I have sisters – if there’s a war on women, I’m losing it.’
You know, I mean, basically – because they’re saying ‘these are the women that I go to, these are the women that I listen to, these are my – these are the folks that I need to talk to, these are the ones who direct my transactions.’
And when we talk – when our male colleagues talk about those things, those connections to women, they do much, much better job and women connect with them.
You know, exactly, it has to be consistent. It can’t just be sporadic when we’re talking about certain pieces of legislation or if there’s an issue that arises and then we focus in on that. It has to be on an every day level, it has to be part of the discussion that our male colleagues have. It certainly is for us, you know, it’s very easy for us to talk about the issues that are affecting women.
You know, one of the other issues, obviously, you know, some of the social issues, you know, many times, we know how the left, the media will try to trap one of our colleagues into a position, talking about what they’re belief is especially if they know they’re pro-life, right? Basically what we’ve said to my friends, you know, I say: ‘You know what? State your position. Where you are on this issue, when it comes to whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice – wherever you are. And then you come out of that situation.’
Because, one of the things that, especially women I think, are looking for right now is good leadership. And women may not necessarily agree with the position that you take, but they appreciate and they respect the fact that you have shared that with them and that they understand now where you stand on the issue. And there again, it’s about leadership and unfortunately the lack of leadership here in Washington. If we can learn to be better leaders, and actually start looking and making sure [unintelligible] – for you, young people, that there’s a vision for prosperity, that there’s a vision for the country where we will be in a better place, I think that’s another winning message, too.