Oct 25, 2012 / 8:11 pm
President Barack Obama seized on a Republican Senate candidate's remark about rape and pregnancy in an attempt to shore up his support among women, as polls suggest the president is losing his advantage in that key constituency.
Obama intensified pressure on challenger Mitt Romney on Thursday to break ties with Richard Mourdock over the Indiana Senate candidate's comment that if a woman becomes pregnant from rape it is "something God intended." Obama aides used a web video to highlight Romney's endorsement of Mourdock and to accuse him of kowtowing to his party's extreme elements.
Mourdock's remark again brought the divisive issue of abortion to the forefront of the U.S. presidential campaign, distracting from the economic issues Romney has been trying to focus on in the last days before the Nov. 6 election.
Romney, who appears in a television advertisement declaring his support for Mourdock, brushed aside questions on the emotional controversy from reporters throughout the day.
A day earlier, he disavowed Mourdock's comments, although his campaign said Romney continues to support the Indiana Republican's Senate candidacy. Romney opposes abortion but unlike Mourdock, supports exceptions in the case of rape.
Opinion polls show Obama and Romney tied nationally. A new Associated Press-GfK poll of likely voters had Romney up 47 per cent to 45 per cent, a result within the poll's margin of sampling error.
Romney's team has yet to publicly outline any specific pathway to victory. Without a win in Ohio, however, the Republican nominee would have to sweep every other competitive state.
That reality was the motivation behind Romney's daylong swing through three Ohio cities Thursday. Obama was to finish his day in Ohio, too, the final stop on his marathon, two-day drive for votes.
An upbeat Romney proclaimed his campaign has the momentum heading into Election Day. But there are signs in Ohio, as well as Virginia, that his surge following the first debate has run its course.
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