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Jimmy Carter, women out front

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POSTED September 4, 2012 9:03 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Convention Watch shows you the 2012 political conventions through the eyes of Associated Press journalists.

*CARTER'S WORDS: “He has done it all in the face of bitter, unyielding, in fact unprecedented partisan opposition." — former President Jimmy Carter, enumerating at the Democratic National Convention (on video, not in person) what he calls Barack Obama's victories in the past four years.

8 WOMEN OUT FRONT: The women's vote is crucial to Barack Obama's hopes in 2012. So the party created an image designed to appeal to female voters early in its convention Tuesday night: eight women running for re-election or election to Congress standing shoulder to shoulder across the stage.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi led them, and each said a few words about topics including equal pay for equal work, women's health, violence against women, women in uniform, and "the power of moms in the economy."

*MOST POPULAR: The first lady took the stage Tuesday night as the most popular figure in this year's presidential campaign. Michelle Obama earns higher favorability ratings than her husband, his Republican rival, the other contender for first lady or either candidate for the vice presidency, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

In the poll, conducted before the Republican convention began, 64 percent of Americans said they had a favorable view of Mrs. Obama. President Obama came in at 53 percent favorable, Mitt Romney landed at 44 percent and his wife Ann Romney stood at 40 percent. Joe Biden earned a 42 percent favorability rating; Paul Ryan, 38 percent.

Views of Mrs. Obama tilt favorably among independents and women, two focal points in her husband's campaign for re-election. She garners favorable reviews from 56 percent of independents and is viewed unfavorably by just 18 percent in this group.

Among women, her ratings soar to 72 percent favorable, compared with 55 percent among men. The gender gap is particularly pronounced among Republicans (26 percent of GOP men have a favorable view of the first lady, 52 percent of Republican women do) and married people (75 percent of married women view the first lady favorably compared with 50 percent of married men).

*PAGING BETTY WHITE: With all respect to Clint Eastwood, some Democrats want Betty White to make their day.

Some Democrats are leading an effort to bring in the actress to speak at this week's Democratic National Convention — essentially to serve as a counter to the role that Clint Eastwood played last week in helping to introduce Mitt Romney at the Republican convention.

A petition at the website says that Eastwood "gave a bad name to older Americans everywhere with his absurd and awkward-to-watch introduction of Governor Romney."

"Governor Romney can have Clint Eastwood and his improvisational skills because President Obama has the one and only Betty White!" the petition said.

Supporters of the effort are encouraged to go to a Facebook page entitled "Bring Betty White to the DNC." More than 33,000 people have liked the page so far.

White told The Associated Press in May that she normally stays away from politics because she doesn't want to alienate fans, but this year she wants to see Obama re-elected. There's no indication yet that the efforts to recruit White will bear fruit.


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