President Barack Obama is wasting little time in trying to take advantage of a possible further opening among women following a bungled debate response by Republican challenger Mitt Romney earlier this week.
The Obama campaign had already been pushing women’s issues recently, but has now taken the offensive a step further with a new ad out that says the former Massachusetts governor would ban abortion if elected.
The footage used in the ad comes from a Republican primary debate moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and shows Romney saying he would as president be “delighted” to sign any legislation that came across his desk that would overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973 that made abortion legal.
The release of the new ad comes on the heels of Romney’s awkward debate response to a question about equal pay for equal work for women.
The GOP standard bearer whiffed in his response, instead talking about having received “whole binders full of women” as a hiring aid while serving as governor. He also alluded to his having accommodated women in his gubernatorial administration by allowing them to go home early to cook dinner.
The Romney quote in the ad, however, is a truncated one, failing to show the rest of his quote in which he qualified his statement.
Cooper’s question was asked of all of the GOP candidates.
“If Roe v. Wade was overturned, Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk — would you sign it? Yes or no?”
The ad quotes Romney as saying: “I’d be delighted to sign that bill.”
That is not the full quote as Romney went on to say: “But that’s not where we are. That’s not where America is today.”
The Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to overturn Roe v.Wade ruling, and there is no major abortion case on the horizon.
The ad comes amid signs in polls that Romney has improved his standing among female voters.
In a statement accompanying the ad, the Obama campaign says: “Romney may try to change his image just weeks before Election Day, but he can’t change the fact that women can’t trust him.”
The new ad is airing only in the swing battleground state of Virginia.
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg denounced the ad as less than truthful.
“President Obama’s campaign continues to mislead voters in a desperate attempt to distract from this president’s failed economic record,” she said. “Five and a half million women are struggling to find work in the Obama economy, and they are suffering from record unemployment under this president.”