Mitt Romney Makes Awkward Appeal To 'Southern Girls' In Alabama

03/12/2012 03:05 pm ET

In an attempt to reach out to Southern voters, Mitt Romney found a way to mix age, women and hugs all in one.

At a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama, Romney emphasized that he wants voters -- specifically the female contingent -- to embrace his White House run.

"Please give us a big hug, that's the girls," he said, according to Politico. "I've been getting hugs from the Southern girls … from 12, to well, a lot more than 12."

While Mitt touted these lovable moments, he and the rest of GOP field have been criticized for their stances on contraception. Rick Santorum called out his rival for switching positions on the Blunt Amendment. Romney also faced some heat for not directly denouncing Rush Limbaugh's "slut" outburst. When asked about the explosive remarks, he said they were "not the language" he would have used.

Social issues aside, Romney has achieved some success in battleground states by targeting women with television commercials. Prior to Super Tuesday's Ohio primary, the former Massachusetts governor pegged a series of ads to television programs such as soap operas and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Exit polls showed that Romney carried a double-digit lead over Santorum among both working women and non-married women in the Buckeye State.

Ann Romney vouched for her husband's appeal among women on Super Tuesday, citing his economic experience as the lynchpin with female voters.

"Do you know what women care about?" Ann asked. "Women care about jobs. Women care about the economy. They care about their children and they care about the debt. And they're angry and they're furious about the entitlement debt that we're leaving our children."

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