Washington (CNN) – Democrats continued to capitalize Thursday on an unforced error from Mitt Romney Wednesday when he came out against a controversial Senate amendment that would allow employers to opt out of health care coverage they disagree with on moral grounds. Romney later said he misunderstood a reporter's question and voiced support for the legislation, which is backed by leading conservatives.
The Democratic National Committee released a web video that used news reports to describe Romney's stumble and accused him of trying to take away women's control over their health care.
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"So what does the bill that Romney champions mean for women," a graphic in the spot read. "Any employer could refuse to cover contraception, vaccines, diabetes testing during pregnancy … The affordable care act gives millions of women control over their own health care. Mitt Romney would take it away."
The spot echoed similar criticism from President Barack Obama's re-election team. A statement from Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter released Wednesday said his shift is "why women don't trust him for one minute … Even worse, he ended up on the wrong side of an issue of critical importance to women."
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said the commercial is an example of Obama dispatching "his liberal attack dogs to try to distract from his assault on religious liberty."
"Governor Romney supports the Blunt Amendment because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith," Saul said in an email.
The amendment, drafted by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Romney supporter, is an attempt by Senate Republicans to confront head-on a simmering controversy over rules governing religious employers and coverage they are required to provide.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill on Thursday, following the uproar sparked by an Obama administration move that would have required employers to provide contraception to their employees - regardless of the employer's religious beliefs. Representatives from the Catholic church advocated strongly against the measure.
The White House has since backed off on that requirement, and instead said insurers must cover birth control if the employer does not.
In the sit down interview with Ohio News Network, Romney was asked whether he supported the Blunt measure.
"The issue of birth control, contraception, Blunt-Rubio is being debated, I believe, later this week. It deals with banning or allowing employers to ban providing female contraception," asked the reporter, Jim Heath. "Have you taken a position on it? He (Santorum) said he was for that, we'll talk about personhood in a second; but he's for that, have you taken a position?"
Romney responded: "I'm not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I'm not going there."
Team Romney and the candidate sought to clarify the former Massachusetts governor's comment.
"I didn't understand his question. Of course, I support the Blunt amendment. I thought he was talking about some state law that prevented people from getting contraception. So I was simply misunderstood the question and of course I support the Blunt amendment," Romney said on Howie Carr's radio show Wednesday.
- CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Rachel Streitfeld and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.