Debbie Wasserman Schultz pushes women to vote Obama as Romney narrows gap

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The Obama campaign continued its effort to attract women voters during a Monday conference call with reporters, with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz charging that Republican nominee Mitt Romney would be “a president who wants to essentially force us to refight battles that we thought were won long ago, and essentially either make us or keep us as second class citizens.”

“Women’s health and economic security depend on President Obama winning the White House. And because women make up 55 percent of the electorate, women will decide this election,” Wasserman Schultz said.

After the first presidential debate in Denver, Colo., Romney made strides in narrowing the polling gap among women voters.

“In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told USA TODAY, regarding a Monday USA TODAY/Gallup Poll that showed likely women voters giving Romney a bump in swing states following the debate. “Women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.”

An October Pew Survey found that where Obama had an 18-point lead among women last month, following the president’s poor debate performance, the candidates are now tied among likely women voters (47 percent to 47 percent). The USA TODAY/Gallup Poll released Monday found Obama leading Romney overall by 9 points among registered women voters, but narrowing the gap to give Romney the edge in swing states.

With women voters looking more seriously at Romney as an option, the DNC chairwoman stressed that for women, the race is pivotal.

“The choice for women could not be more clear. President Obama has fought to improve women’s health and economic security from day one,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would take us back to the same top-down policies that failed before and they are refighting the same battles that we thought were long past us.”

Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry and two Democratic voters were on the call as well, making similar pleas for women to get out the vote for Obama.

“Working women and working families simply cannot afford to go backward with Romney economics,” Kay Henry said, charging that the repeal of Obamacare will harm women by reducing access for women and that Obama is the only candidate concerned about equal pay for women.

In recent weeks the Obama campaign has pushed to regain the absolute advantage with the female vote with messaging targeting women in ads and the press. (RELATED: Romney campaign files federal suit to ensure all military ballots count in Wisconsin)

Wasserman Schultz added that there will likely be more questions dealing with women’s issues during the town hall debate.

“Women will have an opportunity tomorrow night to see exactly what the women on this call know, that there could not be a more clear or stark contrast between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on issues important to women — whether its the economy, women’s health, making sure that we have a future where we have opportunities that are going to allow us to ensure our families can thrive or are we going to have a president who wants to essentially force us to refight battles that we thought were won long ago, and essentially either make us or keep us as second class citizens,” Wasserman Schultz concluded.

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