Matt Lewis

As gender gap collapses, does Obama really want the election to be about social issues?

Lynn Sweet’s headline yesterday morning should have served as a warning sign for Mitt Romney to expect that he would soon be attacked. It read: “Romney ahead in polls for first time, gains ground with women voters.”

This, of course, cannot stand.

Signs that Romney was closing the gender gap predictably forced Obama’s campaign to refocus on social issues. (What else explains ignoring the economy — and chaos in the Middle East — in order to host a campaign conference call on abortion this morning?)

As New York Times’ blogger Michael Shear reports, deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter accused Romney of  “’cynically and dishonestly’ trying to hide his real position on abortion and contraception…”

This distraction isn’t an accident. Look at the polls — Rasmussen has Romney leading on jobs and the economy by double digits. Meanwhile, hearings are taking place (as I type this!) on the debacle in Libya.

So why isn’t Obama trying to respond to the real issues voters care about?

Because he can’t.

With less than a month to go before Election Day, you don’t make your re-election campaign about abortion because you want to. You do it because you have to.

But petty politics is a double-edged sword.

If Obama’s campaign — as they did this morning — wants to question Romney’s views on social issues (and dredge up old statements and videos), I wonder what Obama’s base would think about this fun old video — which is equally apropos of nothing…