Boehner Says His Members Have a Women Problem

Boehner admits his members have some work to do when it comes to women.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
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House Speaker John Boehner recognizes he's got a lot of guys in his caucus who have some things to learn about the ladies.

"Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be," Boehner said during a press conference Thursday.

There are 82 women in the House of Representatives and just 20 of them are Republicans. Only one of them holds a position as a committee chairman. (Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., holds the title of chairman of the House Administration Committee.)

Boehner says at times the men who hold most of the leadership roles in the caucus, miss the mark in Congress and out on the campaign trail.

That's why Boehner has instituted a new educational opportunity for Republicans.

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According to a report from Politico, Boehner aides have been gathering with GOP staffers to help them fine tune their messaging to women.

The National Republican Congressional Committee also has been investing time and effort to keep their members politically correct ahead of the 2014 election. Campaign officials want to ensure that members don't have their very own "legitimate rape" gaffe like the one that derailed former Rep. Todd Akin's, R-Mo., Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. One after another, the 2012 election was sprinkled with a handful of Republican men making offensive comments about female reproduction. Another off-handed comment about rape cost former Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock a Senate race.

Even this year, Republicans have spent a considerable amount of time debating rape and contraception. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., led the successful campaign in the House to ban abortions after 20 weeks. And Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., blamed the 26,000 sexual assaults that occurred in the military in 2012 on "hormone levels."

Republicans are aware they have a problem with women and it's one many party officials recognize must be fixed if the party is going to be politically solvent heading into the 2016 presidential election.

The gender gap in the 2012 presidential election was the largest it had ever been. Republican nominee Mitt Romney won male voters by 8 percentage points and President Barack Obama won female voters by 12.

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In the 2014 midterm election, women again will play a pivotal role in determining competitive congressional races in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and Colorado where female voter turnout is high.

And in nearly a dozen races, GOP men will have to run against a woman for the seat.

If men have a chance at winning some of those races, it may not hurt to stop by the Speaker's office for a quick refresher on chivalry, but some Democratic women's groups are not expecting much in the way of change.

The "GOP unveils yet another training program so House incumbents stop insulting women opponents, voters," says Jess McIntosh, a spokesman for Emily's List, a campaign group that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights. "4,265th time's the charm, guys."

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