Obama’s reelection campaign ramps up pitch to women

March 12, 2012

By Jackie Calmes |  NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s reelection campaign is beginning an intensified effort this week to build support among women, using the debate over the new health care law to amplify an appeal that already appears to be benefiting from partisan clashes over birth control and abortion.

On Monday, mailings will go out to 1 million women in more than a dozen battleground states, their names culled from the campaign’s extensive voter lists, in three separate versions for mothers, young women, and older women, campaign and party officials said.

“Nurses for Obama’’ will begin Wednesday, with nurses nationwide enlisted to be advocates for the health care law in their communities. Millions of voters on the campaign’s e-mail list will be getting links to video testimonials about beneficiaries of the health care overhaul signed by Obama in 2010, including a former critic of the law who subsequently was diagnosed with breast cancer and a 3-year-old with a heart defect.

Through the month, ending with what the campaign’s headquarters has designated a “Women’s Week of Action,’’ campaign field offices will organize phone banks, campus activities, house parties, and media events featuring local residents helped by the law, officials say.

The campaign is trying to use the political climate to regain the traditional Democratic advantage among women, even as moderate Republican and independent women voice disenchantment with the Republican focus on social issues.

Women were 53 percent of the national vote in 2008, and given Obama’s and his party’s ongoing weakness among white men, they are crucial to his reelection. While Obama won 56 percent of their votes four years ago, women narrowly went for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections that cost Democrats control of the House.

The campaign’s push to rally women around the health care law had been long planned, campaign officials said. But the effort has gained intensity , the officials and local volunteers said, because of recent controversies over contraception, abortion, and education in Washington and in state capitals, which have energized people in the campaign’s far-flung field offices who are essential to putting any national strategy into action.

For example, in New Hampshire, a swing state, the nine field offices will hold 16 phone banks to contact female voters about the benefits for them in the health care law. On Wednesday, when the “Nurses for Obama’’ effort is to be announced, nurses in New Hampshire will be making the calls. In Virginia, another battleground, Barbara Kanninen volunteered a month ago to help run a “Women for Obama’’ network and said “it’s growing fast’’ thanks to the debates in Washington and Richmond.

To read more, visit: http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/03/11/president-obama-campaign-ramp-pitch-women-this-week/DZTTTrdBlXDLd7qMeXTy1K/story.html

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