As he looks to clinch the GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney is trying to distance himself from the contraception debate that has dominated primary season. In an interview with Newsmax this week, Romney admitted that he faces an obstacle with women voters and blamed it on Democrats for twisting Republican words. Watch the video below (hat tip: ThinkProgress).
But there’s no question that over the past several weeks, that a discussion about religious liberty was distorted into a discussion about contraceptives. And there was the perception that somehow Republicans are opposed to contraceptives. I think it was a most unfortunate twist by our Democrat friends.
I think this will pass as an issue as people understand our real position. I, for instance, have made it clear that I do not oppose contraceptives. But the women that I speak with, and the women that my wife speaks with, tell her that their number one issue is the economy so that they can get good jobs for themselves and their families and they can have confidence their children can get good jobs when they come out of college or high school.
He also talked about his wife, Ann, and her role on the campaign trail, saying she "would talk about what we would bring to this country, how we would endeavor to help people who are hurting and having a hard time, and how we would bring a new degree of fairness to so many who are being left behind.”
Last month, Ann made a similar claim about women and the economy to voters in Boston.
“Do you know what women care about?” she 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."
Mitt Romney has a confusing record on contraception. His campaign insisted that he supported the controversial Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage for "moral reasons" -- even though Romney originally said he opposed the bill.
“I’m not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I’m not going there," he said.
A Romney spokesperson, Andrea Saul, tried to clarify his position soon after he made the remarks.
“Regarding the Blunt bill, the way the question was asked was confusing," she said. "Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith."
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