What We're Reading This Morning -- April 24
Good morning everyone and Happy Primary today! With the most delegates up for grabs since Super Tuesday, voters in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, and my home state of Connecticut head to the polls. Mitt Romney is hoping to shut out his remaining Republican rivals and further solidify his place as the presumptive Republican nominee by clinching all five primaries. But for Newt Gingrich, it all comes down to the state of Delaware. According to campaign sources, Gingrich is looking for a win or a close second in the state; otherwise, he may reassess his place.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning….
Romney and Obama compete for the women’s vote with entirely different strategies. “The 2-by-4 campaign for women's votes” — “No issue is proving too tiny for Obama and his team as they seek an edge with female voters. They’ve denounced male-only membership of the Augusta National Golf Club, cut a video message of support for Planned Parenthood, universally disavowed a supporter’s slipup on Ann Romney and issued a 65-page report that recasts the administration’s entire record through the lens of how it affects women. Tucked inside that lengthy report are nuggets like these: women can now serve on submarines, expect private spaces at most workplaces to express breast milk, and take comfort knowing that the definition of rape was updated for the first time in more than 80 years, a change that means more federal funding to combat domestic violence. Romney’s campaign needs to win over women, too, but so far isn’t wielding the two-by-four that Team Obama prefers. The likely Republican nominee is betting that women will respond to a universal economic message rather than a micro-targeted pitch — a strategy that conservative elites, such as Bill Kristol, are urging him to stick by. Romney leans primarily on his wife to co-host tele-town halls and other events aimed at women. And there is no dedicated space on his website tailored to women that plays up his past accomplishments or offers promises for the future, although Ann Romney hosts a Moms for Mitt page on Facebook.”
Anti-women’s health politicians in Ohio introduced a provision that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood in the Buckeye State. “Planned Parenthood Targeted as Ohio Considers Grant Restrictions” — “Ohio lawmakers are considering a budget provision like one that caused five of six Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas to lose funding and, the group says, left poor women without access to preventive health care. Republicans who control the Legislature amended a fast- moving budget bill last week to put Planned Parenthood at the end of the line to apply for federal dollars that Ohio distributes for contraceptives and other family-planning services. Public health departments and other providers would have priority. Agencies that don’t provide abortions should get the first chance for the funds, said Representative Ron Amstutz, chairman of the House Finance Committee. While advocates say health care wouldn't be affected, access to family planning would be reduced in a fight reaching statehouses after congressional attempts last year to defund Planned Parenthood, said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which studies abortion trends. ‘We have never seen this level of activity around restricting family-planning dollars,’ Nash said in a telephone interview from Washington.”
Live free or die? New Hampshire lawmakers are refusing to live up to their state motto and moving forward with six anti-women’s health bills that could further restrict women’s access to comprehensive care. “NH Senate voting on 6 abortion bills” — “CONCORD, N.H.—The New Hampshire Senate is taking up a half dozen abortion bills Wednesday, including one that could jeopardize the state's federal funding for its Medicaid program. The bill would cut off taxpayer funding to hospitals, clinics and others who perform elective abortions, although an amendment proposes exempting hospitals. That would end funding to six Planned Parenthood of Northern New England centers and several other rural clinics. The amendment's sponsor -- Republican Sen. Gary Lambert of Nashua -- hopes to reduce the financial impact on the Medicaid program, but he says he does not know what risk remains. Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas cautioned the Senate in a series of letters that the bill could imperil the state's $1.4 billion annual state-federal Medicaid program. About half the funding is federal.”