President Barack Obama's reelection campaign slammed Mitt Romney over women's health issues in a new ad released Saturday.
The ad, titled "Important," features on-camera interviews with an array of women to emphasize the significance of access to contraception and funding for Planned Parenthood. It comes just days after the Obama administration's birth control mandate took effect, requiring most employers to provide free birth control coverage in their health insurance policies.
"This is not the 1950s," a woman named Alex says in the ad. Later, she adds, "I don't think Mitt Romney can even understand the mindset of someone who has to go to Planned Parenthood."
The ad then pivots to the infamous clip of Romney saying he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood. In an interview earlier this year, while offering a few suggestions on how he would reduce the deficit, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had said, "Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that's the easy one, but there are others. Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that."
Those comments quickly resulted in a firestorm, and Romney walked them back just a few days later. The former Massachusetts governor clarified in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that he would like to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is a private organization.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded to Saturday's ad with the following statement:
One day after the unemployment rate increased and we reached 42 consecutive months with a jobless rate greater than eight percent, it is not surprising that the Obama campaign would release a false ad in an attempt to distract from the effects of the President’s failed policies. Dishonest political attacks will not change the fact that President Obama has not turned around the economy, and his policies have hurt women and families all over the country. We tried it the President’s way, and middle-class workers have paid the price. Mitt Romney has a Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will jumpstart the economy and bring back millions of jobs.
The president continues to hold a steady lead among women voters. A poll last month showed that his support among single women nationally is nearly double that of Romney's.
The commercial began airing Saturday morning in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa and Washington, D.C.
99 Problems (JAY-Z)
Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."
The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.
Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."
Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)
Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.
We Don't Care (Kanye West)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."