In recent weeks, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign has showered praise on Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), in an effort to court female voters. Yesterday, Carly Fiorina said, “Hillary Clinton was not respected to the extent she had earned,” adding, “John McCain has long honored and respected Hillary Clinton.”
Interviewed on Fox News after Clinton’s speech last night, Fiorina said Clinton had been “dissed in the way that she was treated” and that McCain knows that women “expect to be respected”:
FIORINA: Women do feel that Hillary Clinton was dissed. Women feel that Hillary Clinton was dissed in the way that she was treated as she ran her campaign. Women feel she was dissed in not being seriously considered for the vice presidency. … And I think now women are very attuned to the fact that they expect to be respected. And John McCain will work for every single woman’s vote. And that is a sign of respect.
It is particularly unfitting for the McCain campaign to talk about being respectful to Clinton, as he and his surrogates have a history of making offensive, crude, and vulgar comments towards her:
— Her problem is she’s Hillary Clinton. And some women, by the way, are named [bitch], and it’s accurate. — McCain adviser Alex Castellanos, [5/21/08]
– Q: “How do we beat the bitch [Clinton]?” McCAIN: “That’s an excellent question.” [11/13/07]
— “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.” 
…And to women in general:
— “Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die?” 
— McCain reportedly told his wife Cindy that she “plasters on the makeup like a trollop,” then addressed her with an insulting and derogatory word. 
— Said women need more “training and education” instead of fair pay legislation. [4/23/08]
Not only has McCain been personally disrespectful to women, but his policy proposals actively undermine them. As Elizabeth Edwards has noted, McCain’s dogmatic adherence to the individual health care market disproportionately hurts women, who are forced to pay more for coverage. McCain opposed the Ledbetter Act, which would have made it easier for women to pursue pay discrimination suits.
Read more on McCain’s policies toward women in yesterday’s Progress Report.