I thought one of President Obama's better moments during the debate this week was when he pointed out that access to affordable contraception was not only a health issue for women, but an economic issue as well. During some of that exchange, Mitt Romney once again attempted to obscure his opposition to the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate and the following day, had one of his surrogates out there claiming that women don't really care about access to affordable contraception and calling it a "peripheral" issue."
As Steve Benen noted, we've seen this act before back in April when Gov. Nikki Haley was out there claiming that women don't care about contraception as well, and this Wednesday, we were treated to round two of this nonsense -- Birth control is not a 'hypothetical situation':
Kerry Healey, Romney's lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, fresh off her borderline-comical turn in the post-debate spin room last night, sat down with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell today, and the host asked questions Healey presumably expected, noting Romney's support for the Blunt Amendment, for example.
Inexplicably, the Romney surrogate described the consequences of the candidate's own proposals as "some hypothetical situation." Healey added that even having a discussion about women being able to afford contraception is a "peripheral" issue.
This arrogant attitude is extraordinary. Under Romney's preferred agenda, employers can end contraception coverage for their women employees, and millions of Americans would no longer be able to afford birth control.
Asked to defend this right-wing nonsense, the Romney campaign's defense is that the question is irrelevant -- as if the issue is so trivial, it's not even worth their time.
If this is Team Romney's attempt to appear in touch with the needs of working families, it's likely to backfire.
Postscript: On a related note, Ed Gillespie said he was "wrong" last night to explain that Romney opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. For those keeping score at home, the Romney campaign, over the course of less than a day, has had no position on the law, been opposed to the law, and then supportive of the law.
As Nicole noted in her post about Nikki Haley:
And if by some chance I ignored all good sense and did the things above, when asked to proffer up proof that there isn't a war on women's rights within the GOP, I sure as hell wouldn't be stupid enough to say, "Well, women don't care about contraception."
The Romney campaign doesn't seem to have learned any lessons from what this did to them in the polls with women earlier this year.
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