MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — President Barack Obama sought to capitalize on his debate performance last night by casting Mitt Romney as regressive on women's rights and health care decisions.
Obama mocked Romney, who stumbled in the town hall on a question on equal pay legislation saying he sought out female members of his Cabinet in "binders full of women."
"We don't have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to work in these fields right now," he said as the audience cheered.
He added that when Romney's aides were asked about it months ago they said "we'll get back to you."
Obama also highlighted the effects of Obamacare, deploying a frequent stump speech line that "being a woman's not a preexisting condition."
The president then took Romney to task on contraception, saying Romney wants to cut funding for planned parenthood and restrict employer payments for contraceptives.
"I don't think your boss should control the health care you get," Obama said as the crowd of mostly younger people at Cornell College cheered. "I don't think insurers should control the health care you get. I certainly don't think politicians should control the health care that you get."
The renewed push for women comes as Obama is losing his advantage with Romney among them. The so-called gender gap has been narrowing in recent surveys, though the Obama campaign has defensively derided the polls.
"With all due respect ot USA Today, they’re running this flawed poll that has us tied with women which is an impossibility," Obama senior adviser David Plouffe told reporters late Wednesday, also attacking Gallup's test for determining who is likely to vote.