Women will decide this year’s presidential election, Caroline Kennedy told a group of at least 50 women gathered at a Leesburg home on Friday in support of President Barack Obama.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Kennedy said.
“I think when you’re talking about this country and the kind of future we want – education and health care – those are the kinds of values that I know my Uncle Teddy fought for. I think I really learned that when something is worth doing and worth fighting for, you just have to keep at it and you can’t give up. This isn’t going to be easy.”
“We have a really good chance to determine the course of history,” said the daughter of President John F. Kennedy.
Kennedy was joined on Friday at the home of Jan Wilson, a full time lawyer and avid supporter of the president, by Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama.
With the election only 11 days away, a majority of women and some men gathered at the event to drum up last minute support for the president.
“… The stakes have never been higher ... I’ll tell you I am scared to death, not just as a Democrat. I’m scared as a mom. I’m scared as a daughter. I’m scared as a potential grandmother …” Jarrett said.
Jarrett told the story of how her 83-year-old mother at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C. in September, told Jarrett’s daughter: “I can’t believe you’re going to have to fight the very same battles that I fought 50 years ago.”
“And we’re going to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett, who has known the president and first lady for decades, said when she first met Barack Obama she knew anything he put his mind to he could do.
She described the president as having character, integrity and a willingness to tell the truth “even if people don’t like what he has to say.”
Jarrett said she worries for women’s rights because Republican candidate Mitt Romney has promised that, if elected, the first thing he would do is take away all funding for Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, both of which cover vital health care services for women at an affordable cost.
“I have to ask him ‘why is that the first thing on your agenda when all of the women around the country rely on Planned Parenthood for basic health care that they would not have otherwise?’” she said.
On the campaign trail for the president, Jarrett said she’s found that with a lot of undecided women voters “they just need someone to talk to them.”
“They don’t know about the president’s agenda. They’re busy. They’re working. They’re taking care of families … They’re doing so much they haven’t had time to pay attention,” Jarrett said.
Kennedy said she doesn’t believe there are any undecided voters, just those who are torn and are in conflict with something within themselves.
“People need to be reassured that the future is going to be better with President Obama …” she said.
Voting, Kennedy said, is the biggest privilege anyone has in the United States that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“Really, for me, I feel most patriotic on Election Day. Really, one of the best things we get to do is participate in our democracy,” Kennedy said. … “It’s up to us to persuade people that’s the very least they can do is take the time to enjoy this privilege and get out there and vote.”
But it wasn’t just women standing up for their rights at the Friday rally. Ashburn resident Anson Obayuwana told the crowd he believed cutting funding for Planned Parenthood was about economics and would affect men just as much as women.
“There’s an awful lot of men who rely on [Planned Parenthood] as far as education and ways to make sure to protect yourself. It’s a really important women’s issue, economic issue, but I’m going to try and do my part to get the word out that as men we benefit a lot from those opportunities too,” Obayuwana said.
Jillian Jaeger of Lansdowne, a retired U.S. Navy sailor, urged voters to look at the package deal they would be getting should Obama be re-elected to a second term.
“We’ve talked a lot about the president, but I really I have to give a lot of credit also to Vice President Biden. I love him. I love his style. Anyone with a level head on their shoulders, if you look at the difference between him and Paul Ryan, it scares me … to think that someone as inexperienced as him … could be vice president. I hope people look at this as a package deal of what they’re getting. They’re getting quality and experience versus inexperience and Romnesia,” Jaeger said.
In recent months, Loudoun County has been named as one of a handful of counties in Virginia that could easily help swing the 2012 presidential election. As such, candidates and their high-profile supporters have made the area a permanent stumping ground for the last month.
Today, Ann Romney is scheduled to speak at noon at Freedom High School in South Riding.
The visit from Ann Romney will be the fourth in the past four months from either Mitt or Ann Romney. The presidential candidate spoke in Sterling in July and at Leesburg’s Ida Lee Park Oct. 17. Ann Romney headlined a “Women for Mitt” event in Leesburg in early September.
Earlier this month first lady Michelle Obama spoke in Leesburg and the president spoke with a backdrop of Loudoun County High School to thousands in August.
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