DENVER—President Obama turned his focus to women’s health before a predominantly female audience at the Auraria Campus Wednesday in the first of his two-day trip across the state.
Obama touted the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, in helping women afford contraception, attempting to draw a stark contrast between himself and Republicans over what Democrats have dubbed the “war on women.”
“I don’t think a working mom in Denver should have to wait to get a mammogram just because money is tight. I don’t think a college student in Colorado Springs should have to choose between textbooks and preventive care that she needs,” Obama said. “That’s why we have this law.”
The president was introduced by now-graduated Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who gained notoriety when radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” because of her advocacy for “free” government-mandated birth control.
“We have a candidate, President Obama, who understands the importance of women getting access to the care they need when they need it,” Fluke said. “And we must remember that we have another candidate, Mr. Romney, who wants to take all that away.”
Obama continued the attack on likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, claiming that both his economic and healthcare policies are outdated.
“When it comes to the economy, it’s bad enough that our opponents want to take us back to the last decade,” Obama said. “That’s bad enough, but when it comes to a woman’s right to make her own healthcare choices, they want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the twenty-first century.”
The Romney team brought in as its surrogate Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who led a five-stop swing through Colorado today that included appearances in Johnstown, Lakewood and Denver. Accompanying Portman were Congressman Cory Gardner, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call.
Portman was quick to point to the most recent Quinnipiac poll that has Romney leading by a 50 to 45 percent margin in the state.
“Guess what’s going to welcome President Obama to Colorado today?” Portman said. “Some new polls that show Romney up.”
Portman also blasted the president for failing to deliver on promises to reduce unemployment, which has exceeded 8% for a record 42 months, and jump-start the economy.
“When he pushed through that trillion-dollar stimulus package, he promised unemployment would be at 5.6%,” Portman said. “That didn’t happen either.”
Debbie Brown, director of the Colorado Women’s Alliance, pointed to two focus-group studies showing that Colorado women are more concerned with jobs and the economy than traditional women’s health issues like contraception and abortion.
“Despite the large promises, women aren’t buying it,” Brown said. “Frankly, they don’t want government controlling this aspect of their lives.”
The Quinnipiac poll also showed that there is less of a gender gap in Colorado than in other swing states, including Florida and Wisconsin.
Obama closes out his stay in Colorado Thursday with visits to Pueblo and Colorado Springs.