Dem senators accuse GOP of waging ‘war on women’ at fundraiser

The Republican Party has launched a war on women, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Tuesday, flanked by five of her female Senate colleagues at a fundraiser for Democratic female candidates.

Republican efforts to curtail family planning and infertility treatment, and to repeal clean air regulations that protect pregnant women and others, have created a dire need for a stronger voice in the Senate representing women's needs, Boxer told donors for EMILY's List, a PAC that supports Democratic women who favor abortion rights.

"The best way to fight back in this war is to elect more women, and these women have stepped up to the plate," she said.

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Boxer spoke to a few hundred supporters who packed a chic Washington art gallery Tuesday for a fundraiser for Senate candidates endorsed by the liberal group.

At her side were major forces in the Democratic party and female senators up for reelection in 2012, including Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.). Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, also made an appearance.

"We're in a world of hurt right now. Karl Rove's group came in, and they're going to come in against all of these women," Boxer said, decrying the unflattering photos outside groups unearth for their attack ads. "I kept my grandchildren away from the television. 'Oh, my grandmother is so ugly.' "

Of the 12 Democratic women serving in the Senate, half are up for reelection, but when new recruits are included, 2012 will feature the most Democratic women running for the Senate in U.S. history, said EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock. She said the PAC has set a new record for number of donors and members supporting the organization.

EMILY's List has already launched aggressive fundraising and advocacy efforts on behalf of both House and Senate candidates it has endorsed for the 2012 cycle. The group has poured major dollars into the campaign of Elizabeth Warren, and signaled its intention on Monday to start airing ads in Massachusetts to boost her Senate candidacy.

The group has also taken a prominent role in supporting Suzanne Bonamici, the Democratic nominee in a special House race in Oregon coming up in January. On the Senate side, the PAC is lending its support to Democratic Reps. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Shelley Berkley (Nev.). Both are making runs for the upper chamber and joined Boxer and others Tuesday for the fundraiser.

The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that supports candidates who oppose abortion, has made clear it plans to push the opposite agenda in the upcoming elections. The group rolled out its first slate of House endorsements for the cycle on Tuesday.

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