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Romney aggressively fights 'war on women' narrative

Brian Snyder / Reuters

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at Alpha Graphics in Hartford, Connecticut April 11, 2012.


HARTFORD, CT-- Mitt Romney pushed back aggressively on Wednesday afternoon against the notion of a Republican-led "war on women," repeating his argument that any such suffering by women is actually the result of President Obama's economic policies.

"This is an amazing statistic ... 92.3 percent of all the jobs lost during the Obama years have been lost by women. 92.3 percent!" Romney said, holding a new piece of campaign literature produced today displaying various dismaying economic statistics. "Now the president says, 'Oh, I didn’t cause this recession' -- that’s true. He just made it worse and made it last longer, and because it lasted longer, more and more women lost jobs."

And while independent fact checkers have questioned the veracity of that number, Romney came prepared with other damning numbers he said were the result of the president's poor stewardship of the economy.

"Under President Obama, 858,000 more women are out of work. 858,000 out of work under this president. And finally the total female unemployment rate has gone from 7 percent when he took office in January 2009 to 8.1 percent in March of 2012," Romney said. "This president has failed America’s women and if I’m the next president of the United States I will go to work to get American women good jobs, rising incomes and growing businesses."

Mitt Romney pushed back against the narrative of Republican-led "war on women." Romney told a group in Hartford that President Obama's economic policies have hurt women. Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman

While Team Romney has pushed back on the idea that the all-but-official GOP nominee has a problem with female voters, his campaign has begun an aggressive outreach effort -- surrounding the candidate with women on stage, as they did today, and having him meet with female business owners, as he did yesterday.

Democrats have touted stories of the GOP's gender gap, and today seized on a comment by a Romney surrogate on a conference call that called into question whether Romney would have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009, which extended the statute of limitations for women to file wage discrimination lawsuits.

As the back-and-forth between the Romney and Obama campaigns flared over social media, the Romney campaign sent three press releases from prominent female surrogates focusing on the economy -- not the Ledbetter act, (which a Romney aide later said he would not change), a strategy Romney appeared to double down on towards the close of his remarks here today.

"This president will do, in his campaign, anything he can to deflect from his record. What I'm going to have to do every day is bring him back to his record. I have to show, for instance, that the policies of this administration have led to 92 percent of the people who have lost their jobs being women in this country," Romney said. "When he says, ‘Oh, there is a war on women,’ let's bring him back to the fact that it is the real war upon women that has been waged by his economic policies. Let’s hammer day in and day out what has happened under his policies, and recognize those policies, those things he believes, do not work."