Romney Campaign 'Scrambling To Clarify' Abortion Policies

Much of the weekend health care political news coverage centered around women's health.

National Journal: Gillespie Defends Romney's Abortion Policies 
The Romney campaign is scrambling to clarify the Republican nominee’s position on abortion after campaign officials offered differing positions this week.When challenged over Mitt Romney’s comments to the Des Moines Register, in which he said his administration had no legislative plans to tackle abortion, Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie firmly stated that Romney is a pro-life candidate and would take action to back his positions. "Life is a very important issue in this election—as is the economy and as it national security, all these issues always play a very important role," Gillespie said on Fox News Sunday (Vasilogambros, 10/14).

CNN: Romney Adviser Defends Candidate's Abortion Stance
"What the governor has consistently said is that he thinks Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and this is something that should be left to elected representatives, to the people through their elected representatives," Gillespie said, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion (Liptak, 10/14).

Fox News: Obama Camp Tips Hand On Debate, Hints President Will Attack Romney On Bain 
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday: "[Romney's] running mate also left him vulnerable on a number of issues -- admitting there was a $5 trillion tax cut, after he denied it, but again failing to explain how they would pay for it, leaving women worried about their ability to make choices about their own health care (Henry, 10/14).

Reuters: Bruce Springsteen To Campaign For Obama In Ohio, Iowa
Obama is likely to follow up on issues from the vice presidential debate where his campaign believes Ryan showed signs of weakness, including taxes, women's right to abortion, and a time line for ending the war in Afghanistan (Mason, 10/14).

USA Today: Congressional Campaigns Unleashing Nasty Attacks
In hotly contested U.S. House and Senate races, candidates and super PACs are unleashing some of their most damaging material ... Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., released a trio of ads last week featuring three separate female rape victims declaring their opposition to GOP Rep. Todd Akin, who has been under fire since August for his comments about "legitimate rape" and a false assertion about a rape victim's biological ability to prevent pregnancy. One of the women in the ads, Diana, identifies herself as a Republican and states: "I've never voted for Claire McCaskill, but because of Todd Akin, I will now" (Davis, 10/14).

Roll Call: Colorado: Ad Hits Mike Coffman on Stem Cell Opposition
The pro-Democratic House Majority PAC today said it will begin airing an ad against Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican who is in a tight race with challenger Joe Miklosi for Colorado’s 6th district. The ad — which features a young-looking man, a little girl and a woman — urges voters to reject Coffman based on his opposition to embryonic stem cell research (Ackley, 10/14).

The Hill: Abortion Groups Make Push In Swing States
Groups on both sides of the abortion debate are focusing their advertising on swing-state voters in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign. As Mitt Romney nabbed headlines with his comment that abortion bills would not be part of his agenda, voters in four swing states were already viewing a slew of ads from Planned Parenthood's political wing, on the left, and the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, on the right. The two groups have spoken loudest for their sides of the abortion debate this presidential election, particularly through television spots aimed at convincing undecided voters of the dangers of the opposing candidate (Viebeck, 10/13).

Politico: Contraception Rule Opponents Feel 'Momentum' After VP Debate
Joe Biden and Paul Ryan tangled over the Obama administration’s contraception coverage requirement Thursday night, but the real fight has headed to the courts — and the rule’s opponents say they’re gaining steam. They’re certainly piling up lawsuits. But whether that’s real momentum — or just a growing stack of legal briefs — remains to be seen. ... Three new suits were filed just this week, bringing the total to more than 100 plaintiffs in more than 30 cases. That doesn’t mean the lawsuits have been successful so far. For the most part, they haven’t (Smith, 10/13).

In other political news --

CNN: Romney Mailer Vows To Protect Health Care 'Choice'
The message on the front of the brochure looks like something Planned Parenthood might send out to potential supporters. ... But this isn't a mailer from abortion rights supporters or President Obama's re-election campaign. It's a new mail piece in Virginia from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, an abortion opponent. The choice on the table this November, the inside of the brochure argues, is a choice between government-run "Obamacare" that will stunt job creation and raise taxes (Hamby, 10/13).

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