Women for Mitt: why they say it's Obama waging a 'war on women'
Women voters who back Mitt Romney are ratcheting up grass-roots efforts to persuade other women that the economy is a women's issue. Polls show Romney trails Obama among women.
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“We encourage women to vote for Mitt Romney because what impacts us the most is the economy, government overspending, unemployment, and dismal job creation,” says Maddox, who got engaged in the campaign when she was asked to serve as a women’s coalition chair for Romney in Florida. “We focus on educating women voters, one vote at a time, woman to woman.”Skip to next paragraph
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Asked about social issues, she puts them aside, simply calling Obama's health-care law a disaster.
Rae Lynn Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), is not so dismissive of social issues, but she agrees that they should not be the focus of efforts to reach out to female voters. An NFRW survey of more than 8,500 Republican women suggests that the economy is first on women’s minds going into the 2012 election, she says.
“There is a war on women, and it’s coming from the Obama White House and the Democrats,” says Ms. Chornenky, quoting government statistics that 92 percent of jobs lost during the Obama administration have been women’s jobs – a number Romney likes to cite, as well.
(Fact checkers note that, historically, men lose their jobs first in a downturn, then women. If job statistics from 2007 are included, the male-female jobs-lost ratio changes significantly, and the Annenberg Public Policy Center's nonpartisan Factcheck.org writes: "The unemployment rate is now 8.3 percent for men, 8.1 percent for women.")
But the NFRW's 75,000 members are taking their message to other women through traditional grass-roots campaigning. “We know how to get the message out, whether it’s phone calling or going door to door,” says Chornenky.
The Romney campaign is also trying to connect with women voters on a personal level. In August, it launched “Women for Mitt,” chaired by Mrs. Romney. The group plans town-hall meetings and rallies throughout the country. “Our goal is to get a diverse coalition of women actively involved in the campaign,” says Courtney Johnson of the Romney campaign.
Will that be enough?
“The president right now has a pretty big lead and I don’t expect that to vanish,” says Walsh.
Moreover, Democrats are unlikely to let social issues go untouched. “They energize the Democratic Party,” Walsh says.
And with unhelpful comments like those of Republican Rep. Todd Akin, who said a woman's body could prevent pregnancies during a "legitimate rape," social issues are hard for Republican women to avoid. Says Walsh: “An important question is how strongly Democrats will go after this issue.”