The end of the GOP presidential primary contest is in sight, but the bruising battle has left all-but-certain nominee Mitt Romney limping as he heads into the fall fight against President Obama. A new poll shows that Romney's support among women is sliding steeply, largely because of the primary's right-wing focus on "contraception and other reproductive rights issues," say Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. For now, the majority of the female vote is in Obama's hands, but Romney is rapidly turning his focus to women. Here, five of his strategies:
1. He says Augusta National Golf Club should admit women
Tiger Woods' errant swing was not the only source of controversy at The Masters this year. The Augusta National Golf Club, a good old boys' club if there ever was one, earned renewed scrutiny for its longheld policy of denying membership to females. Romney came down on the side of women, saying that "If I could run Augusta, which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women."
2. He's relying heavily on his wife
The Romney campaign is using Ann Romney, a breast cancer survivor, to soften "the edges of a flawed and awkward candidate who struggles to connect with voters," says Lois Romano at Politico. The campaign is "casting Ann as the rock-solid center of her male-dominated household," in a bid to "help narrow the gender gap," says Hayley Peterson at The Washington Examiner. Indeed, Romney answers "virtually" every question about women with an appeal to his wife, says Laurie Kellman at the Associated Press.
3. He's skewing Obama's record
To counter the perception that Obama better represents women's interests, the Romney campaign "would have you believe that, under President Obama, women have suffered the most economically — claiming that 92.3 percent of the jobs lost on his watch belonged to women," says Josh Boak at Politico. Of course, "that's a statistical sleight of hand." The fact is, 3.3 million men lost jobs in the year before Obama took office, "while the losses for women were more drawn out over time."
4. He's focusing on pocketbook issues
Economic issues "resound with a large swath of the electorate," especially women, who often handle household finances, says Amie Parnes at The Hill. Republican strategists say Romney needs to focus on "lowering gas prices and cutting spending," and "toss social issues aside" if he wants to "regain his footing with women." Lightning-rod discussions about contraception and abortion rights only bolster Democratic claims that Republicans are "waging a war on women."
5. If all else fails, he could always choose a female running mate
Romney could diversify his ticket by choosing a female running mate, says Hillary Chabot at The Boston Herald. Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) or Gov. Susana Martinez (R-N.M.) could give Romney a "much-needed boost with female voters."