Interviews

Debate Over Whether Obama Administration Is Making Unmarried Women Dependent on Government

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 30, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: Is President Barack Obama trying to make unmarried women dependent on big government handouts? Is this the Democratic Party strategy? That's what conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly charged at a GOP fundraiser over the weekend. Here's what she said:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: One of the things Obama's been doing is deliberately trying to influence the percentage of our population that is dependent on the government for their living and, for example, do you know what was the second biggest demographic group that voted for Obama? Unmarried women. Seventy percent of unmarried women voted for Obama. And this is because when you kick your husband out, you've got to have Big Brother government to be your provider, and they know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: My goodness. Democrats are outraged and asking Republicans to condemn her comments. So is Schlafly telling the truth, or is she way out of bounds?

Joining us now from Chicago, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios. And with us, women's rights activist Gloria Feldt, author of the upcoming book, "No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power."

Sandy Rios, let me start with you. Do you think what was said is true? I mean, what I know is that right now, women are the majority of the workforce in this country. Women are the majority of the people in the graduate schools in the country. And here is Phyllis Schlafly saying women are looking for a handout from big government.

SANDY RIOS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, she's not really saying that, Juan. I mean, I know that's what they like to lift out. What she's saying is that we are putting a system in place that encourages single women. For instance, in the health care bill, there's a marriage penalty. If you stay single, your health insurance costs less than if you get married, like $2,000. And we know that the White House, we know this because we have it in writing that 70 percent of single women voted for Barack Obama in the last election. And the Democrats were gleeful. And Stanley Greenberg was the pollster who came to that number. And he wrote in the results of that poll, we have to address this demographic; we've got to reward them. And so John Podesta of the American Center for Progress on paper…

WILLIAMS: But Sandy, what's wrong with that -- wait, wait, wait, hold on. What' wrong? So they voted for him. They should be rewarded. I don't see -- but anyway, that's not the point.

RIOS: Yes.

WILLIAMS: That's not what Phyllis Schlafly was talking about. She's saying that, in fact, you kick out your husband and then you end up dependent on big government. Is that what you're agreeing with?

RIOS: Yes, because she's talking about the inner city and the vast number of welfare recipients.

WILLIAMS: Wait a second. Hold on. She wasn't -- wait, wait, wait.

RIOS: She's not talking about…

WILLIAMS: She didn't say poor women. She didn't say black women.

RIOS: Juan, Juan.

WILLIAMS: What she said was blacks were the biggest segment that voted for Obama.

RIOS: Right.

WILLIAMS: And the second was these group of single women.

RIOS: That's right. She's right. That's true. Why is that so horrifying? It's true.

WILLIAMS: But no, no. What she went on to say this business about big government. And let me ask you to come in here, Ms. Feldt. What do you think? Was she right or wrong?

GLORIA FELDT, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, Phyllis was demeaning and really very insulting to unmarried women, who are as you said, half the population, half of the voters. And it's…

WILLIAMS: And half of the workforce.

FELDT: And half of the workforce. So in fact, she's referring to almost all of us at one time or another in our lives. You have to ask, who does she mean? Does she mean widows? Does she mean Bristol Palin? I mean, come on, really. You could -- all of us have probably been -- all of us who are women have probably been unmarried at some point in our adult lives.

But the point is that I would like to agree with Phyllis Schlafly is that she understands the power of women and women's vote. And I hope that women, all women and unmarried women do understand and appreciate the power of their vote and that they go to the polls, and they pull those levers, and that they pull them for candidates who support equal rights, equal pay…

WILLIAMS: Yes.

FELDT: …fair equity. Fair equitability for women.

WILLIAMS: But wait, wait, wait. What you heard Sandy Rios say a minute ago is you know what? Women are being taken by this attitude of big government as Big Brother and big daddy and big husband. Is that fair? Is that what you are saying, Sandy?

RIOS: Juan, I'm saying it's much more complex. The feminists on the left want to lift out Phyllis' comments and say she's attacking single women. I know for a fact she isn't. I've been a single woman for the last 18 years. I just got married. So she's not talking about that.

WILLIAMS: Well you know what though?

RIOS: She's talking just -- let me finish, Juan.

WILLIAMS: You know what, Sandy? But let me just say this to you. You know, in fact, the Republican candidate she was speaking for that weekend has now come out and said you know what, he doesn't agree with her.

RIOS: Well, you know what? He better be careful because he better examine the facts. Phyllis Schlafly is a brilliant attorney from Harvard. She knows what she's talking about. Her facts are accurate.

WILLIAMS: All right.

RIOS: She is saying that 40 percent…

WILLIAMS: Sandy…

RIOS: Juan, the problem is that we are putting into place laws that encourage women to be single. And now we have a lot of single -- a lot of kids born…

FELDT: That's not what this issue is about.

WILLIAMS: Let me give Ms. Feldt the last word.

(CROSSTALK)

RIOS: It is the issue.

FELDT: The Schlafly 75, those candidates who have been endorsed by Phyllis' Eagle Forum, probably had better start running the opposite direction because the…

RIOS: Absolutely not.

FELDT: The power of the women's vote…

WILLIAMS: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

RIOS: They better dig in their heels.

WILLIAMS: Hold on. Hold on a second.

FELDT: Wait, this a democracy.

WILLIAMS: Not about women, Gloria.

FELDT: And women are smart enough to be able…

RIOS: I'm a woman, too.

FELDT: …to vote…

RIOS: I'm a woman, too. So is Phyllis.

FELDT: …what they believe is the best policy for themselves, for their children.

WILLIAMS: All right.

RIOS: Oh, come on, Gloria. It's not about that.

WILLIAMS: All right, Sandy…

RIOS: Phyllis is talking about policies that damage the family. That's what she's talking about, and she's right.

WILLIAMS: Sandy and Gloria, we got to stop right there. Sandy and Gloria, we got to stop right there. But Sandy, let me come back to you because a year ago, you know, you suffered something that was just terrible, a terrible tragedy. I understand there is a website that you have, and I want you to tell us a little bit about it pretty quickly.

RIOS: Well, this was actually a gift to me from a friend, Juan. And I was the mother of a very severely disabled daughter named Sasha. And she left us unexpectedly a year ago. And so a friend produced this website for me, which kind of chronicles her life. And I used to be a professional singer, so he used songs that I had recorded for her to kind of chronicle her life and a sermon that my son, who is a pastor in Vancouver, preached at his sister's funeral, which is very powerful. And so I thank you for asking me.

WILLIAMS: So what's the website?

RIOS: It's -- well you can find -- well, my website is SandyRios.com. And you just put SandyRios.com/Sasha. And you can see that.

WILLIAMS: All right.

RIOS: And I hope that people will access it, Juan. Thank you for asking me that.

WILLIAMS: Me, too. Oh, absolutely. And my heart goes out to you. Sandy, Gloria, thank you both for joining us tonight.

RIOS: Thank you.

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