. . UNITED STATES: POLITICS: POLITICAL PARTIES: REPUBLICAN PARTY, TEA PARTY : INDUSTRIES: PETROLEUM INDUSTRY : POLITICS : WAR ON WOMEN: Larger Women's Issues Loom over Romney Campaign . . Larger Women's Issues Loom over Romney Campaign April 12, 2012 By Maeve Reston Los Angeles Timeshttp://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/12/ nation/la-na-0413-romney-women-20120413
. A shorter URL for the above link: . http://tinyurl.com/82dxr62 . .When a Democratic strategist said stay-at-home mom Ann Romney shouldn't advise her husband about women's economic issues, it set off a debate that glossed over the candidate's obstacles to winning over moderate female voters.
.PROVIDENCE, R.I. The shrill debate over a Democratic strategist's assertion that stay-at-home mom Ann Romney should not be advising her husband about women's economic travails glossed over the bind that Mitt Romney finds himself in as he pivots to the fall election.
.The problem is this: Many of the economic policies that the former Massachusetts governor has embraced during the contentious Republican primary could make it much harder for him to appeal to the moderate and independent women who are key to his quest for the White House.
.The gender gap Romney faces is stark. He trailed President Obama among women by 19 percentage points in a Washington Post/ABC News poll this week a slide that began in the midst of the Republican primary debate over issues like access to birth control. Perhaps most ominously, a USA Today/Gallup survey released last week found that Obama had opened a 14-percentage-point lead over Romney among independent women in 12 swing states.
.While the campaigns tangled this week over ancillary issues like whether Romney was using a fair statistic to describe job losses among women during Obama's presidency, or the stances of several of his female surrogates on controversial issues like transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, the more crucial question is what the toll has been of his sometimes harsh rhetoric on issues of concern to moderate women, like budget priorities, immigration and the nation's social safety net.
.On those topics, Romney has at times boxed himself in. He has pounded Obama for job losses among women during his tenure, yet rarely acknowledged that many of those cuts were in government jobs that would be sliced further under his proposals, which would shrink government employment by 10%.
.Though middle-of-the-road female voters tend to be more concerned than conservative women about maintaining the nation's social safety net and expanding healthcare access, Romney has vowed to repeal Obama's healthcare law, rein in the growth of programs like Medicare and get rid of government aid to Planned Parenthood. He rarely touts his own efforts to expand access to healthcare in Massachusetts, because the program has become such a liability for him among Republican voters.
.In his haste to show his credentials as a fiscal conservative, Romney also has repeatedly criticized the president for promising voters "free stuff" by implication trashing programs like education subsidies that are popular among women voters.
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