KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Campaign’s Home Stretch, Presidential Candidates Launch Ads On Women’s Health Issues

President Barack Obama and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney continue to fight for women's votes, which are considered key to winning the election.

Los Angeles Times: Obama, Romney Launch Closing Barrage Of TV Ads
Apart from the clash on the economy, the most striking aspect of the campaign's peak advertising is the prominence of women. New Obama ads feature women saying Romney would jeopardize access to birth control and abortion. At the same time, American Crossroads, a "super PAC" backing Romney, is running an ad showing a woman at a kitchen table criticizing Obama on spending, debt and jobs. … In Florida, Obama was making a play for the elderly last week with an ad aired during "Good Day Orlando." It attacks Romney on Social Security and Medicare and shows Obama sitting at a cafe table with worried-looking seniors. "We're not going to turn Medicare into a voucher," Obama says. "This is all part of keeping a commitment, a pledge, to your generation, but also to future generations" (Finnegan and Landsberg, 10/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney Seeking To Narrow Obama Advantage With Women Voters In Campaign's Final Weeks
Women have emerged as the pivotal voting bloc in the aftermath of the second presidential debate, where Obama and Romney sparred over contraceptives and pay inequality and Romney spoke about reviewing "binders full of women" as governor when he sought to diversify his Massachusetts administration. Some national polls suggest Obama's longstanding edge with female voters is narrowing, prompting both sides to make an all-out blitz for women (10/22).

McClatchy: Romney And Obama Divided Over Abortion, Contraception, Gay Marriage
The economy still may dominate the nation's to-do list, but a nation divided in its values continues to passionately debate social issues: abortion, birth control and gay marriage. The nation's view of gay rights is evolving. After a string of 32 states have voted to ban gay marriage, four more states are poised to vote this fall – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington – and analysts say one or more could vote in favor of gay marriage. Many are debating who should pay for contraception, a new issue since President Barack Obama's administration this year ordered insurance plans to cover contraception, at no cost to women (Kumar, 10/19).

McClatchy: Obama, Romney Wage War For Women
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are engaged in a furious duel for women's votes, battling daily with attack ads, massive rallies and heartfelt testimonials from supportive women. In the latest round Friday, the president fired up a raucous crowd at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., with a vigorous pitch to women voters. He wore a pink bracelet, signaling his support for breast cancer research, and was introduced by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Obama poured it on. "When it comes to issues critical to women, the right to make your own decision about your health, the right to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace, Gov. Romney wants to take us to policies more suited to the 1950s," Obama said, as the audience kept interrupting him with applause (Lightman, 10/19).

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