KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama, Romney Camps Tussling Over Women’s Vote

To appeal to women, Democrats are pointing to the health law (including its contraceptive coverage) while Republicans are playing up their solutions to fix the economy.  

The Associated Press: Challenges Facing Romney In Wooing Female Voters
Mitt Romney is starting to hone his appeal to female voters, acutely aware as he turns to the general election that he has little choice but to narrow President Barack Obama's commanding lead among this critical constituency. ... Romney must overcome history, political math and the missteps of a party that picked a fight over one provision of Obama's health care law and ended up on the defensive over access to birth control. Romney also has work to do with female voters after inconsistencies or misstatements on issues such as abortion and the future of Planned Parenthood (Kellman, 4/7).

Washington Examiner: Romney Battling To Win Back Women
The campaign is also organizing "Women for Romney" grassroots groups in several battleground states and running on the message that women are more concerned about the economy than the social issues, like birth control, on which Democrats have been attacking Republicans. ... Romney will be able to narrow the gender gap by November, but history suggests he's unlikely to win a majority of female voters, said Jennifer Lawless, director of American University's Women & Politics Institute. "In every presidential election since 1980 there's been a gender gap where women have been more likely than men to favor a Democrat," Lawless said (Peterson, 4/7).

CNN: Obama Adds Politics to Women's Forum
Recent polls show Obama holding a solid leader over Romney among female voters in likely battleground states. While too early to be considered definitive, the polling indicates that a conservative shift by Romney in the primary campaign is costing him support among independent women voters. ... "The so-called war on women has resonance, and the Democrats appear to be winning the spin war," CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley said (Cohen, 4/6).

ABC News: War Over Women Comes to White House
In the thick of a battle over women, the White House is seizing on the Republican Party's struggle to woo female voters by inviting scores of them to Washington to tell the administration what they want. The White House's overture included President Obama himself [and] ...  health secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Negrin, 4/6).

NPR: Partisan Fight For Female Vote Uses Monthly Jobs Report As Weapon
While the president did talk about the uneven progress on the jobs front, his appearance at the forum allowed him to discuss a range of other policies he hopes will give him stronger appeal to women voters than the likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. His litany included his support for pay equity ... and the Affordable Care Act with requirement that the health insurance plans employers offer include contraception coverage with no out-of-pocket costs to employees (James, 4/6)

Kaiser Health News Capsules blog: Obama Ties Women’s Economic Future To Health Law
“Because of the health reform law that we passed, women finally have more power to make their choices about their health care,” Obama said. ... Sebelius added that, with the health law, women will have more freedom to take on jobs, start a business and raise their families – all without worrying about the security of their health care. (Torres, 4/6).

Los Angeles Times: DNC's Wasserman Schultz Calls Republicans 'Callous' Toward Women
Democratic efforts to frame recent Republican policies and right-wing statements as part of a larger “war on women” led by the GOP took another step Sunday. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz portrayed Republicans as “turning back the clock for women.” ... Female voters have been a focal point for the Democratic Party since a string of controversies this year (Little, 4/8).

Meanwhile, the Sunday talk shows also featured criticism for the administration --

Politico: Cleaver: 'Wrong' To Say War On Women, Religion
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said Sunday it's “wrong” for Democrats to say the Republican Party is engaged in a war on women. In a discussion with Ralph Reed — the founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition — on CNN's "State of the Union," Cleaver also shot down the idea the president has declared a war on religion. ... Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a United Methodist Church pastor, added, “We have got to quit exaggerating our political differences" (Weinger, 4/8).

National Journal: Pastor Rick Warren Decries Obama Contraception Compromise
Influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren said Sunday that he is not satisfied with the Obama administration’s compromise on a requirement that religious-affiliated organizations provide contraception coverage to employees, and said religious freedom is at stake. “The issue here is not about women’s health,” Warren said on ABC’s This Week. “There is a greater principle, and that is do you have the right to decide what your faith practices?” (Roarty, 4/8).

The Hill: Cardinal Dolan Criticizes Obama Contraception Policy As 'Radical Intrusion' Of Government
In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” [Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York] reiterated that he remained unsatisfied with the administration’s policy requiring that employees of religious organizations, including Catholic groups, have access to contraception. Dolan had led the Church’s effort against the regulation (Berman, 4/8).


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