“Romney is trying to hide what he believes, but there is no hiding as president,” Cutter said. “His severely conservative positions that got him through the primaries are still there, and they have been there for six years, and now he is trying to cover them up because he knows they hurt women, seniors, and the middle class — and they hurt his chances for winning the presidency — so even the ‘real Romney’ can’t cover that up.” (RELATED: Obama camp claims Romney hiding true abortion views)
Cutter’s appeared inspired by Romney’s comment during a Des Moines Register editorial board meeting Tuesday that “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” He added in the same interview, however, that he would use an executive order to reinstate the so-called Mexico City policy,which bans private groups from using federal funds for abortions. The Obama administration overturned that policy in 2009,
Abortion is one plank of a “war on women” strategy the president’s allies believe might help the Obama-Biden ticket. Last month the pro-abortion NARAL Pro-Choice America rolled out an election strategy to reporters at its Washington, D.C. headquarters, laying out a model designed to help Obama win women’s votes. (RELATED: Pro-choice group unveils detailed plan to sway ‘Obama defectors’ back to Obama)
Reinvigorating that strategy could be important following a presidential debate performance by Romney last week that created a surge big enough to all but erase the president’s double-digit lead among women voters, according to Fox News.
Media have leveraged “war on women” issues before
Thursday’s debate did not mark this year’s only high-stakes political debate appearance of a contentious social issue impacting women. As the moderator of a January 2012 Republican primary debate, Raddatz’s ABC colleague George Stephanopoulos took aim at then-Republican nominee hopeful Mitt Romney on restricting women’s access to contraception (RELATED: Stephanopoulos struggles with fairness during NH debate):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?
ROMNEY: George, this is an unusual topic that you’re raising. States have a right to ban contraception? I can’t imagine a state banning contraception. I can’t imagine the circumstances where a state would want to do so, and if I were a governor of a state or…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the Supreme Court has ruled –
ROMNEY: … or a — or a legislature of a state — I would totally and completely oppose any effort to ban contraception. So you’re asking — given the fact that there’s no state that wants to do so, and I don’t know of any candidate that wants to do so, you’re asking could it constitutionally be done?
That out-of-the-blue line of questioning was met with boos by the audience of GOP partisans. But Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton White House Senior Advisor, had set the stage for what conservative talker Rush Limbaugh and former Clinton adviser and Fox News political analyst Dick Morris later said was intentionally set in motion to make so-called “war on women” issues an unavoidable part of this year’s presidential contest.
The election is now just 25 days away. The Obama administration is absorbing criticism for potentially misreporting jobs data and mishandling a terrorist raid that killed America’s ambassador to Libya. And Obama is facing an opponent in Romney with momentum in his corner. Raddatz’s decision to call attention to abortion may have been just what the doctor ordered for the president’s campaign.