Campaigning in Iowa, Obama ridiculed his opponent.
“I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women, ready to learn and teach in these fields right now,” he said.
Romney, at a stop in Chesapeake, Va., revisited a question from the debate about the gender pay gap, saying that answers women want to hear about the economy are coming from him, not Obama.
“This is a presidency that has not helped America’s women, and as I go across the country and ask women, ‘What can I do to help?’ what they speak about day in and day out is, ‘Help me find a good job, or a good job for my spouse,’ ” Romney said. “That’s what the women of America are concerned about. And the answers are coming from us and not from Barack Obama.”
Although the candidates have courted female voters all year, they are renewing their attention to the demographic as polls show the race tightening, and as some surveys indicate that Obama’s once-sizable advantage among women has slipped.
Romney shifted his emphasis Tuesday night on at least one issue relevant to women, asserting that “every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.” He objects to the president’s policy that requires employers to pay for contraception as part of health insurance coverage, an issue important to conservatives who consider it an infringement on the rights of religious institutions. But he did not mention that, and instead focused on the undisputed issue of access, as he appeared to be trying to present a more moderate face in the closing weeks before the election.
The Romney campaign also debuted a new ad this week that tries to soften his image. The spot, called “Sarah,” features a young woman who says Obama’s ads accusing Romney of wanting to ban all abortions and contraception “concerned” her.
“So I looked into it,” she says. “Turns out, Romney doesn’t oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother’s life.”
“This issue is important to me,” she says. “But I’m more concerned about the debt our children could be left with.”
The ad is a direct play for undecided voters such as Paula Fultz, 59, who is from a Cleveland suburb. She supports abortion rights and backed Obama four years ago but gave Romney a closer look after the first debate. “He seemed more credible than what I’d seen before,” Fultz said of Romney. “So I’ve been leaning more to looking at the jobs discussion.” After Tuesday’s debate, Fultz said she is still leaning toward Romney, even though she said she thought Obama performed better the second time around.