Mitt Romney's 'binders full of women': Will Obama win back female voters?

Romney has made big gains with one of Obama's most important voting bloc. But that may change in the wake of Tuesday's debate

President Obama was all smiles after the Oct. 16 presidential debate.
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

"There was no doubt about the winner of the second presidential debate: Women," says Michael Scherer at TIME. President Obama and Mitt Romney are locked in an intense battle for women voters, whose shifting allegiances may be the main reason Romney has enjoyed a recent surge in the polls. At the debate, Obama heavily underscored his support for Planned Parenthood, giving women greater access to contraception, and promoting gender equality in the workplace. "These are not just women's issues," he proclaimed. "These are family issues. These are economic issues." Since then, Obama has mocked Romney's widely circulated claim that his staff brought him "binders full of women" to consider hiring, an ill-worded objectification that doesn't sit well with many women. Will female voters start moving back to Obama's camp?

Yes, because Obama went all in on Planned Parenthood: Obama's emphatic defense of Planned Parenthood, which provides women with mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and, yes, abortions, was "a watershed moment," says Alison Yarrow at The Daily Beast. Obama's "gambit was remarkable both for the rareness of a president choosing and naming one women's group, and for its combativeness — each mention coupled with a reminder that Mitt Romney has vowed to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding." Obama's debate performance "helped to frame himself for women, and particularly single women, who are one of the most reliably Democratic slices of the electorate."

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