Romney says he, GOP are supportive of women
HARTFORD, Conn. — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney intensified his efforts Wednesday to rebut claims that he and fellow Republicans are insufficiently supportive of women, or even hostile to them.
For the second straight day, the presumptive GOP nominee campaigned at a female-owned work site, and denounced Democrats for saying his party is waging “a war on women.”
“The real war on women is being waged by the president’s failed economic policies,” Romney told a crowd packed inside Alpha Graphics. There, and on Tuesday at a women-owned steel fabrication plant in Delaware, Romney said President Barack Obama’s economic policies have disproportionately hurt women.
The events were scheduled before Rick Santorum’s unexpected withdrawal removed the last serious barrier to Romney’s nomination pursuit. They underscored Romney’s sensitivity to Democrats’ efforts to link him to controversial GOP-led efforts to limit birth-control insurance coverage for women in some workplaces, among other things.
Polls have found a growing “gender gap” in the presidential race. Obama’s advantage among women is outpacing Romney’s edge among men.
While he spoke in Hartford, Romney’s campaign issued statements from Republican women in Congress defending his record. But a conference call with reporters arranged by his campaign hit a snag when aides were asked whether Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Act to help women achieve equal pay, the first piece of legislation Obama signed.
“We’ll get back to you on that,” campaign policy director Lanhee Chen said after a pause.
Democrats gleefully publicized the exchange. They glossed over the fact that many GOP lawmakers had opposed the legislation when Congress passed it in 2009. The law makes it easier for women to file workplace pay-discrimination cases.
Romney repeated his assertion that women account for 92 percent of those who have lost jobs during Obama’s presidency.
Independent groups say the claim overlooks the way men were disproportionately hit by job losses during the 2008 recession, when George W. Bush was president. By the time Obama took office, deep losses in male-dominated areas such as construction had taken a much bigger toll on men.
Romney’s claim also counts job losses in the first two months of 2009, when the newly inaugurated Obama had enjoyed scant time to redirect the economy.
“There is a small amount of truth to the claim, but it ignores critical facts that would give a different impression,” said the journalism-based group PolitiFact. “We rate it mostly false.”