Cecile Richards draws a distinct reaction from just about everyone interested enough in politics to recognize her name – either passionately supportive, like those in the crowd that greeted her in Raleigh on Thursday, or passionately the exact opposite.
Richards is president of Planned Parenthood, and she has taken a month away from work to campaign full-time on behalf of President Barack Obama. She headed to North Carolina with get out the vote efforts in full swing to rally the support of women in the hopes that all the right doors are knocked, all the right calls are made, and that everyone supportive of Obama casts a ballot.
"What it's all about right now is who gets their folks out to vote," she said. "North Carolina is very much in play, and that's why the campaign asked me to come down here, and I'm not the only person who will be here either."
A couple dozen gathered in the living room of a home near downtown Raleigh for a conversation with Richards that let her exact her take on issues important to many women that have become regular sales pitches by Democrats over the course of the campaign.
Her list of praises for Obama went something like this: He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, he expanded access to health care and birth control through the Affordable Care Act, and he just relates to women better than Mitt Romney.
Also high on her list is Obama's support of continuing funding for Planned Parenthood, compared to Romney's plan to push for the group to be left out of the budget because of abortion services they provide, which has been a lightning rod for controversy as Congress and state legislatures aorund the country have pushed de-funding measuers.
"The choice is so clear," Richards said. "Do you want a president, like Romney, who believes a woman should just do what her husband says? Or do you want a president who has a track record of helping women?"
Everyone in attendance was given some kind of sign-up sheet or another to keep making phone calls and knocking on doors.
Richards also stopped in Charlotte and Greensboro for Thursday events.