With Rick Santorum out of the running, the fight for the White House is heating up between likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, and this week the battleground is for women voters. NY1's Washington reporter Erin Billups filed the following report.
A new poll out this week shows Mitt Romney trailing President Barack Obama among women voters, 38 percent to 57 percent.
This comes after weeks of Democrats and women's activist groups declaring the Republican Party has waged a so-called war against women.
"Republicans are focusing on these misogynistic anti-women policies and the women are saying tell us how you're going to put us back to work," said President Terry O'Neill of the National Organization for Women.
Just last week, the White House held a forum for women and the economy.
"Women are not an interest group. You shouldn’t be treated that way," the president said.
But it is clear that women, a key voting bloc, are in the campaign crosshairs. This week, Romney worked overtime to change his perceived narrative on women and met with female business owners on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"The real war on women has been waged by the Obama administration's failure on the economy," said Romney.
Even his wife, Ann Romney, has taken on a more prominent roll, starring in campaign ads. She is also at the center of the firestorm, as those on the left discredit her credentials to speak for women's concerns.
"His wife has actually never worked a day in her life," Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said.
Rosen has since apologized and clarified her statement.
The White House, meanwhile, is fighting back against Romney's claims, pointing to the first bill the president ever signed, the Fair Pay Act for women.
"It continues with the emphasis on the need to put teachers back in the classroom. It continues with a variety of programs, including our opposition to the Ryan Republican budget," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Conservatives, though, say the so-called war is a distraction and a disservice to female voters.
"There's this very serious debate going on and in the midst of that liberals have conjured up distractions that are really preventing the serious debate we need about religious liberty," said Jennifer Marshall, the Heritage Foundation's domestic policy studies director.
Bringing the issue back to the genesis of the fight, whether institutions should provide insurance coverage for birth control.