The Romney campaign is slamming as “false” the new Obama TV ad that hammers Mitt Romney over his positions on women’s issues. Team Romney takes particular issue with the Obama ad’s questionable premise that Romney opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.
“It’s no coincidence that after weeks of terrible economic news and the President’s comments that businessmen and women aren’t responsible for their own hard work, the Obama campaign drops false ads against Governor Romney in a desperate attempt to change the subject,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told TPM. “No false ad can change the fact that President Obama has failed to create jobs and turn around the economy, hurting women all over the country.”
A narrator in the Obama ad says: “Mitt Romney opposes requiring insurance coverage for contraception. And Romney supports overturning Roe versus Wade. Romney backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest.”
The first two statements are accurate but the third is dubious. During his 2008 campaign Romney backed a constitutional amendment banning all abortion. Some Republican versions of that legislation include exemptions for rape and incest; others don’t. This cycle Romney has explicitly supported exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. PolitiFact rates the Obama ad’s claim “pants on fire.” The Obama campaign stands by it.
“Since running for president, Mitt Romney has been consistently extreme in his opposition to a woman’s right to choose,” Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith told TPM. “He’s even said that he would be ‘delighted’ to sign a bill banning all abortions. Either he’s backing off his positions or he’s not telling the truth.”
Under pressure during the GOP primaries earlier this year to win over social conservatives, Romney came out for legislation to repeal President Obama’s requirement that health insurance plans cover contraception and for a constitutional amendment saying life begins at conception. The ex-governor has downplayed those issues since he secured the nomination.
“I’ve never felt this way before, but it’s a scary time to be a woman,” says a woman identified as Jenni in the ad. “Mitt Romney is just so out of touch.”
The spot is airing in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and, as of this weekend, Colorado, according to the Obama campaign.
The ad also dredges up the spring’s battle on Capitol Hill over the administration’s birth control mandate, made possible by the Affordable Care Act. House Republicans recently reignited that issue by advancing legislation aimed at repealing the mandate, but the bill is stalled and GOP leaders don’t expect it to face a floor vote. Top Republicans are eager not to wade back into the politically sensitive issue so close to Election Day.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.