Mitt Romney’s senior campaign adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, on Sunday said that social issues important to women, like contraception coverage and abortion rights, were “shiny objects” that were being used to distract voters.
David Plouffe, one of President Barack Obama’s top aides, last week told New York Magazine that Democrats needed to be clear about what a Romney presidency would mean for women’s rights and other social issues.
“Potentially abortion will be criminalized,” Plouffe said.”Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”
On Sunday, Fehrnstrom insisted that the Obama campaign strategy was not going to work.
“Mitt Romney is pro-life,” the senior adviser admitted to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election.”
Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter noted that Romney had promoted his social policies throughout the primary season.
“If it’s not a social issue election then why did Mitt Romney just spend the last year campaigning on social issues?” she wondered. “These are his positions that he’s taken. Whether it’s giving bosses control over whether female employees can get contraception, being for the so-called personhood amendment that would ban all forms of abortion or telling the American people that he’ll get back to them on whether he supports Lilly Ledbetter [Fair Pay Act] — which is an economic issue and it should be a no-brainer, but the governor couldn’t even bring himself to be for that.”
“I think that getting rid of Planned Parenthood or a number of other social issues that the governor injected into the campaign — I think that women don’t like that intrusion,” she added. “What Mitt Romney is really saying that he’s going to do is he’s going to use government to intrude into their lives. And I think that they resent that.”
While Obama still leads Romney 51-40 among female voters, the GOP hopeful has rebounded by 13 points since early May, according to an ABC News/Washinton Post poll released last week.
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast June 3, 2012.