The Week That Was: VA Governor Backtracks, Eva Joins Team Obama & More!

Six things you need to know about the candidates and campaign issuess right now

We've been keeping an eye on political news, both big and small, that's bound to make for good debate. iVillage gives you six topics you need to know about in The Week That Was:

1. Virginia governor changes mind on vaginal probes
As many conservstive politicians continue to push ahead on various pieces of legisation impacting women's health, the state of Virginia and its governor Bob McDonnell were on the verge of mandating that women have internal vaginal sonograms before abortion, performed by inserting a probe into the woman's vagina against her will. Cries of outrage rippled across the country over the forced procedure, which could be considered rape under the criminal law definition. And this week McDonnell backtracked, announcing that he would not support the bill. Change of heart? Probably only for his political future. McDonell has made no secert that he wants to be VP on the GOP ticket, and I wouldn't be surprised if advisors told him needed to back away from forced probing of pregnant women if wanted a chance with less conservative voters. Either way, the reversal marks the second time in recent weeks that a decision limiting women's rights (remember Komen?) was overturned following protests from women's groups.

2. Eva Longoria *hearts* President Obama
I don't think it's anything for Michelle Obama to be worried about, the Desperate Housewives actress isn't making moves on her man. Longoria is one of 35 national campaign co-chairs announced this week to help re-elect the President. While many names on list you might not recognize, some standouts include former Republican senator Lincoln Chafee (now Rhode Island's independent governor), Caroline Kennedy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff Bill Daley and PSP Capital Parnters CEO Penny Pritzker.

3. First "chick lit," now "chick non-fiction?"
Historian Douglas Brinkley, known for tomes on Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, reviewed Jodi Kantor's book The Obamas for The New York Times, belittling the book as being "not political" and just a look at a marriage, calling it "chick non-fiction." Female journalists and authors snapped back on Twitter and elsewhere, decrying the review as being biased. Funny, no one has used that condescending phrase to decsribe Doris Kearns Goodwin's book No Ordinary Time, which looked at the partnership and marriage of FDR and Eleanor. Why would Brinkley claim marriages aren't important? I'm pretty sure Kati Marton would beg to differ. And I wonder what kind of perspective Brinkley and his ilk -- presidential historians -- would find if they spent more time analyzing the impact on marriages. Or, maybe even their own?

4. Women will decide the Senate
Ladies, even if you're not running for office, you are going to be the deciding voice as to what happens in the U.S. Senate races this year. How can I say that with such confidence? A variety of groups including EMILY's List, the 2012 Project and She-PAC are not only encouraging more women to run for office, but are also raising money to support those female candidates. As women have learned over the last few election cycles, money  to support a campaign is just as important to getting elected as taking stands on issues. These organizations and others are using that lesson to have more influence over election outcomes. “Women voters are getting riled up,” EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock told The Dallas Morning News. “Republicans are waging a war against women, and voters in general will respond to it in November.”

5. Santorum & Romney mudsling at Arizona debate
The remaining Republican candidates had what could be the last debate before Super Tuesday, and the majority of the back-and-forth was between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, who are battling one another to win the Arizona and Michigan primaries on Tuesday. Highlights from the debated included Santorum explaining some of his past decisions by saying that politics is a "team sport" and that "sometimes, you take one for the team." Romney was quick to criticize the statement, telling builders and contractors in Phoenix the following day that Santorum had comprised his conservative principles. Santorum, meanwhile, got debate points for likening Romney to Michael Dukakis, saying "Yes, you balanced the budget for four years, off a constitutional requirement to balance the budget for four years. No great shakes  ...  But don't go around bragging about something you have to do. Michael Dukakis balanced the budget for 10 years. Does that make him qualified to be president of the United States?" Zinger!

6. Santorum and all the ladies
Much is being made about all the positions Santorum is taking on women's issues. And speculation abounds about how that will play out. But, wonder no more! In a pre-Arizona debate poll conducted by NBC News/Marist, women voters there preferred Romney two-to-one over Santorum -- likely due to his views of how religion and politics should mix in making policy.

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