KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama, Romney Vie For Women’s Votes

Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney battled for the support of female voters Wednesday with new ads and arguments on the campaign trail related to women's health care, underscoring the importance of undecided female voters in a tight race.

New York Times: Rival Campaigns Intently Pursue Votes of Women
Shortly after the combative presidential debate on Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s campaign began running a striking new commercial that uses a former Obama supporter to contest the notion that Mr. Romney’s positions on abortion and contraception are “extreme.” Before dawn Wednesday, Democrats had taken to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and television to ridicule Mr. Romney’s debate-night statement that he had collected “binders full of women” when he was a new governor in Massachusetts seeking “qualified” female appointees for his administration. … The level of intensity left little doubt that the election was coming down not only to a state-by-state fight for territory, but also to one for the allegiance of vital demographic groups, chief among them undecided women (Rutenberg and Peters).

Los Angeles Times: Obama And Romney Fight For Female Vote
Picking up where their contentious debate left off, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney battled Wednesday for the support of female voters, underscoring their potentially decisive role in settling the fiercely competitive race. Buoyed by a much-improved performance Tuesday night, Obama traveled to the swing state of Iowa, where he renewed his attacks on Romney for proposing an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and again touted legislation he signed making it easier for women to sue for job discrimination (Parsons and Mehta, 10/17).

NPR: Romney Tries To Soften Birth Control Message
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been firmly anti-abortion during this campaign. But during Tuesday's debate on Long Island, N.Y., Romney charged that President Obama misrepresented his position on birth control. … Romney didn't directly address the Planned Parenthood issue — though he has said repeatedly he wants it defunded. But he did complain about what Obama seemed to be implying (Rovner, 10/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Zero In On Women Voters
The focus of the presidential race shifted Wednesday to women voters, as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney carried their argument over women's health care and job opportunities from Tuesday's combative debate onto the campaign trail and TV airwaves (Meckler and Lee, 10/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: On Women, Taxes, Hispanics, Romney Primary Message Shifts As Election Day Nears
On immigration, taxes and women's issues, Mitt Romney is abandoning his "severely conservative" talk of the Republican primary season and moving sharply to the political center as he looks to sway on-the-fence voters in the campaign's final three weeks. … Romney's opposition to Planned Parenthood was a common theme during the primary, and Obama hammered the Republican on Tuesday over his plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, the network of clinics that provide women’s health care and also provide abortion services (10/17).

The Washington Post: Obama Hammers Away At Romney's Changing Positions On Women's Health Issues
At a moment when women are seen as increasingly crucial to the outcome of the election, Romney is trying to build on gains he has made in recent polls. He also is trying to reverse the advantage that President Obama has built this year in part by hammering at Romney’s many statements on women's health issues during the Republican primary season, when the GOP candidate described himself as "severely conservative." Obama’s campaign quickly seized on the latest ad as another example of Romney's effort to erase the conservative stands he took during the GOP primaries (Gardner, 10/17).

The Hill: Obama Touts Contraception Policy Amid Post-Debate Focus On Women
President Obama touted his administration's contraception mandate Wednesday as he sought to capitalize on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" remark. Democrats clearly saw Romney's remarks as a chance to re-open a dwindling gender gap. And while they aggressively attacked Romney over directly related issues such as equal pay, Obama also tied in contraception during a campaign stop in Iowa. "I don't think your boss should control the healthcare you get," Obama said. "I don't think insurers should control the healthcare you get. I certainly don't think politicians should control the healthcare you get" (Baker, 10/17).

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