Democrats have been talking up a Republican "war on women" for weeks, pointing to GOP opposition to President Obama's mandate that insurance plans provide free contraception, as well as to Republican support for defunding Planned Parenthood and the slew of harsh anti-abortion laws being passed in GOP-led states. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney spent the first day of the general election campaign inverting the meme, accusing Obama of waging the "real war on women," since, as Team Romney says, 92.3 percent of all jobs lost on Obama's watch were held by women. So, is Obama the real anti-woman warrior here?
Romney's got the better argument: It's bad enough that Obama's economic policies have led to a shockingly high rate of female job loss, as Romney points out, says William Teach in The Pirate's Cove. But even the president's "ginned up" outrage over the GOP's alleged anti-woman posture is "patronizing" to the fairer sex. Obama seems to suggest that "women aren't capable of earning the small amounts necessary to purchase condoms, birth control pills, etc, on their own." They sure would be if they had jobs.
"Romney turns Dems 'war on women' meme right back at Obama"
Obama fares better under Romney's own metric: The first problem with Romney's ham-handed pushback is that the 92 percent number is "incredibly misleading," says Adam Sorensen in TIME. Early in the recession, before Obama took office and as male-centric industries like construction suffered, men lost more jobs by far. Women were hit hard in the later part of the downturn due to layoffs in state public sectors, and the cure would have been, yes, more "stimulus." No wonder the Romney campaign did not have an answer when asked what Obama could have done differently.
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If this is the fight, Obama wins: Democrats are thrilled to be having this battle, says Jamelle Bouie in The American Prospect. By even accepting "the premise that there is a war on women," Romney is — as Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall smartly points out — "living in Obama's world, playing on his turf." So even if Romney wins a point or two, he loses the game, because "it's not hard to show Republican hostility to 'women's issues,' and that's what will stick with the public."
"The wrong approach"