Women lead way as GOP lists convention speakers

Three weeks ahead of the Republican National Convention, the party's national committee has identified some of the headline speakers who will address the GOP in Tampa, FL, from August 27-30. The choices signal a clear attempt to attract the crucial female voting demographic.

Three weeks before the Republican National Convention, the party's national committee has identified some of the headline speakers who will address the GOP in Tampa, FL, from August 27-30. The choices signal a clear attempt to attract the crucial female voting demographic.

Just this morning, Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) was named the featured speaker. On Monday, among the first names announced to address the gathering were three prominent women in the party: Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Haley and Martinez are their respective states' first female governors, with the latter having the added distinction of being the first female Hispanic governor in US history. Prior to Rice, no black woman had held the Secretary of State post.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last Wednesday indicated that President Barack Obama is soundly beating his presumptive Republican challenger among women in three key swing states: Pennsylvania (59% to 35%), Florida (51% to 44%), and Ohio (58% to 37%).

Last Thursday, Obama addressed more than 5,000 women at the annual BlogHer Conference, further cementing his foothold among female voters. Comments he made such as, “Women make up 80% of my own household, if you count my mother-in-law” underscore the connection he has with this crucial audience.

As the GOP adds speakers to the convention roster – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among them – it is clear Republicans realize they need to make up ground with women voters. They plan to do so by placing the spotlight on the aforementioned four leaders on its party's grandest stage.

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