Is using this saying sexist? Slate Magazine has two interesting takes on the subject. First “the Explainer” talks about the origins of the saying. There have been variations on the theme for many years. Ann Richards used it against both Bushes, for example. http://www.slate.com/id/2199805/
And there is video of John McCain using it specifically against Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid271557392/bctid1784628752
I don’t think of the term, given its history in American politics as being particularly sexist. It simply means trying to dress something up so people might be fooled into thinking it is something new. I think McCain was using it as a dig at a health care proposal and Obama was using it to talk about Republican policies generally. It should be noted that he was speaking in a rural area of Virgina where most of his listener probably got the reference and the humor. In neither case was it used against anyone specific.