President Barack Obama is leading Mitt Romney when it comes to winning over women voters, a gap Republicans at the RNC seem determined to close by focusing on the economy and not abortion and access to birth control. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
There have been a parade of women speakers on stage at the Republican National Convention, some of them delivering a not-so-subtle call to women voters.
The outreach didn't stop there. The Young Guns Network, a super PAC, invited women to a special pavilion. Lounging, shopping, and policy talk, of a certain kind, was on the agenda.
"What we are trying to do here is have women speak to women about the issues that matter the most to women," said YG Network Policy Director Mary Anne Carter. "And that is not contraceptives. It is actually the economy, health care, energy."
Polls show President Obama with a generous lead among women. The Republican Party is trying to close it and fight the charge that the party is waging a so-called war on women. Here in Tampa, the strategy seems to be to sidestep issues like abortion rights and birth control.
"I think the biggest thing for Mitt Romney is his focus on the economy," said Romney Campaign Advisor Brian Jones.
That said, party leaders admit that remarks, like those made by Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, have made things tougher. Akin said women had the ability to prevent a pregnancy if they were the victim of a legitimate rape.
"It's not the most ideal thing that we would want to have as a background narrative," Jones said.
Democrats insist they are confident women will not be swayed by the Republican effort to court them.
"If you really listened to what was said from the platform, there was a lot of criticism of Barack Obama and very little that people could take home and say 'oh, this is how it's going to make my life better,'" said Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
As far as Republican convention-goers here in Tampa are concerned, it is the Democratic policies that are extreme and a disaster for the future.