Obama courts female voters
President Obama warned female voters yesterday to be wary of his opponent, telling supporters in Manchester that Republican challenger Mitt Romney has refused to say whether he would have backed 2009 legislation aimed at giving women equal pay for equal work.
"This is not that hard," the president said to a crowd spotted with "Women for Obama" signs. "I've got two daughters. I want to make sure they get paid the same as somebody's sons for doing the same job. Pretty straightforward. Any confusion there?"
The campaigns have intensified their focus on female voters since women's issues came to the forefront of Tuesday's debate, and Obama yesterday didn't let up on painting Romney as out-of-touch with that group.
He told about 6,000 people gathered in Veterans Memorial Park that he didn't have to "order up some binders" to find qualified female candidates, a jab at a story Romney told Tuesday about receiving "binders full of women" from advisers when filling his cabinet as governor of Massachusetts.
And he reminded New Hampshire voters that they should be all too familiar with politicians trying to control women's health care.
"You've got a state Legislature up here that sometimes acts like it knows better than women when it comes to women's own health care decisions. Well, my opponent's got the same approach," he said. "Gov. Romney said he'd end funding for Planned Parenthood despite all the work it does to provide women with mammograms and breast cancer screenings."
Obama made a similar statement about women relying on the health care provider for mammograms during the debate. The Food and Drug Administration, though, has since said that no Planned Parenthood facilities are licensed to operate mammogram machines.
Yesterday's rally, where Obama spoke for about 25 minutes before jumping back on a plane to New York City, brought the president to New Hampshire for the fifth time this year.
The president used the stop to continue downgrading Romney's debate performance, saying he "took another swing" and "whiffed" when describing his plan to cut taxes. Obama has described the plan as a $5 trillion cut.
And though Romney said Tuesday he's never supported a cut "of that scale," Obama didn't appear to believe him, again describing Romney's proposal as a $5 trillion plan that he said benefits the rich.
"Instead of telling us how he'd pay for it, he said, 'I'll let you know after the election.' . . . I'm going to let you in on a little tip," Obama said. "When a politician tells you he's going to wait until after the election, it's not because their plan is so good that they don't want to spoil the secret. That's usually not what's going on."
Obama called it a "sketchy deal" and theorized that Romney would slash funding for education, an area where the president said he would invest. He called for more job training at community colleges and said he plans to work with colleges and universities to keep higher education affordable.
Obama said he would encourage the hiring of more math and science teachers so students can thrive in those subjects and "maybe start the next Apple or the next Intel."
"That will create jobs," he said. "That should be a national mission. That's what we're fighting for."
The president focused yesterday not just on earning a deeper commitment from a crowed filled mainly with supporters, but on making sure those voters turn out Nov. 6. Each time the group began to yell out in disapproval of one of Romney's policies, Obama stopped them.
"Don't boo, now. Vote," he said.
When a strong chant of "Vote" later filled the park, Obama nodded.
"All right, you guys are getting it," he said.
(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)