DNC attacks Romney over women's health care
March 1st, 2012
09:20 AM ET
10 years ago

DNC attacks Romney over women's health care

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.

Filed under: 2012 • DNC • Mitt Romney
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that many people in the country like women to have some level of contraception included in health care. I would think that most women would like that. I can't understand why these candidate are talking about it as a religious issue when it isn't since this is health care. It is how women take care of their bodies first and foremost.

    March 1, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. rs

    It seems the GOP is making a serious run to either create an American Fundamentalist Theocracy (that looks suspiciously like what the Taliban wanted in Afghanistan), or they are just a hankerin' for the good ol' days- circa 1850.
    Either way, they become more irrelivant every day.

    March 1, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Libby

    This is not only "Gop Extremism at its worst" it is also the most dangerous Flip-Flop Romney has made yet!! These two Gop candidates are a 2 man "Circus" that women will never attend! OMG???

    March 1, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. Skitownrefugee

    Romney – He's a nice guy but he's in way over his head.

    March 1, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |

    "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."
    But Willard, you're running for the highest office in the land. We've got to hear your two cents on the issue. The President is forced to answer questions regarding this matter. If you "are not going there," then why did you "go there" now backing the Blount amendment? I've never seen anyone pander so much.

    March 1, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Gee, Democrats spewing more lies, what the big news story here? When the truth and reality stink because of their policy failures, what else do you have left to try and con the American people? Democrats and the LSM count on the clueless masses believing every lie they throw out there. Goebbels would be very, very proud of the Democrat Party.

    March 1, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Real Politics

    He we go again! If the questions have nothing to do with money or illegal immigrants, Romney proves he is so out of touch with the rest of the issues. I am kind of glad that there are no more debates because it gives time for Romney to say things like "I don't care about the poor, I like being able to fire people, I can't have illegal immigrants working for me I am running for President!" Just like his dad he will something so stupid that he will end up losing this election and we want this guy to get elected? For all Romney voters that thinks he has all this experience in the private sector to make a great candidate can you tell what he did that was so awesome because he hasn't even given specifics

    March 1, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. westward

    Romney owes the women of America a big apology.

    March 1, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. scmom

    Can we say "Flip Flop" in record time!! Will he have his handlers with him in the whitehouse when he says something stupid because he doesn't know whats going on around him in this real world. That was obviously a blunder that his people hurried to change because he didn't know what the hell was going on.

    March 1, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Four and The Door

    Good for the DNC. They are earning their money.
    Their only hope of avoiding another shellacking in November will be to AVOID THE ECONOMY.
    If November is about THE ECONOMY, they lose big.

    March 1, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. enuff

    Do NOT let a company decide what is best for me. I am not a corporation and I do not follow what they may set as "morals". They will only look out for their bottomline, not my best interest. Romney's first answer was the correct one. Everyone keeps talking about getting government out of our lives, but now they are opening the door to letting companies dictate what is right for us. This part of why unions began.

    March 1, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. CoJo

    This guy changes his words depending on who he talks to. When he addresses the evangelical conservatives he talks like he is a hard core conservatives who favors religious bigotry along with Santorum/Gingrich. When Romney talks to the middle class people, he tries to make like he's one of them. When he talks to people who are not evangelical, he plays downs the religious bigotry he was doing. And now the Blunt bill? While there is no way in hell I would vote for Santorum or Gingrich, Romney just lost my vote. He should have stayed down the middle on religous values. He might have gotten more of the non- evangelical conservatives.

    March 1, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. JWR

    It's unfortunate that "today's man" doesn't understand the pains and aches women go through. The "pill" has brought relief to many women from teens thru adulthood who suffer severe cramps. What man would want his wife, sister or daughter to go through this. It is scandalous!!

    March 1, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Debbie

    He really didn't know what the Blunt bill was? Really? Wow that's the kind of leadership I want. Perhaps it is because Romeny has such little value for women so a bill that would impact 50% of the population isn't on his mind. Or maybe he only thinks about bills that have to do with the people that matter...corporations. Senator Snowe has said it well and that is why after 35 years I am no longer a Republican. I am an Independent, No center, moderate left in the GOP just far, far, right fanantics socially, economically, religiously, and in education. No longer a party of a small strong central government but a bloated government, bloated deficit, pre-emptive war mongers, male only corporatism.

    March 1, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. CoJo

    you realize the Blunt bill is just the 1st step. There are moral issues with allowing someone to die in hospital too. Thus would that mean health insurances would not pay the medical bills if someone a spouse/doctor allows a patient to die?

    March 1, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    At least Richie Rich seemed to be a down to earth kid. His dad seemed to make sure of it. Anyone remember Thurston G. Howell, III? That guy was a real aristocrat, but even he was down to earth. His problem was that he didn't seem to like it down here, and so he tried to constantly carry himself as if he were above the fray.

    Mitt Romney, show me the jobs.

    March 1, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Fair is Fair

    FOCUS, Republicans. FOCUS.

    The democrats are using the oldest trick in the book – "Operation Change the Subject". You need to highlight 8.5% unemployment, $4.00 gas, and the disaster known as Obamacare.


    March 1, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. Texas Doc

    Why should he care? His Mormon faith dictates that women are disposable. One wears out, you have several other wives to choose from.

    March 1, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. diridi

    Myth Romney is a crazy idiot. Watch youtube, type, when mitt romney came to town....Bain Capital. Rich vulture capitalist sells USA to China....that's it. Obama2012.

    March 1, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Publius Novus

    Romney misunderstood the question? Really? I will grant him that the question was not a model of clarity in its entiirety. But the question CLEARLY referred to Blunt-Rubio and CLEARLY asked him whether he supported Blunt-Rubio. He CLEARLY responded that he did not support the bill. No english-speaker could have misunderstood the question to be about "some state law." Nor was the question "rushed." If we should be so stupid as to elect Romney, or so unfortunate as to have Romney foisted upon us by Mr. Justice Scaliia and his gang, God spare us from a "rushed" 3:00 a.m. telephone call.

    March 1, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |