HARTFORD, Conn. - The Mitt Romney campaign is going on the offense addressing a perceived gender gap, filing in groups of women at his events, repeating again and again their argument that more than 92 percent of jobs lost under the Obama administration were held by women and now sending a barrage of statements from female politicians disparaging the President's economic policies.
"I was disappointed in listening to the president as he's saying, 'Oh Republicans are waging a war on women,'" Romney said today, speaking at Alpha Graphics in downtown Hartford, a female-run business. "The real war on women is being waged by the president's failed economic policies."
Romney, who yesterday also spoke at a female-run construction firm in Delaware and also met with female business leaders privately before both events, then took one of the signs that his staff had handed out before his event began that features a graphic of jobs lost under the Obama administration - from the hands of a businesswoman - and spoke about the numbers.
"This is an amazing statistic - the percentage of jobs lost by women in the president's 3 - 3/12 years - 92.3 percent of all the jobs lost during the Obama years have been lost by women," said Romney. "92.3 percent! Now the president says, 'Oh I didn't cause this recession,' that's true. He just made it worst and made it last longer and because it lasted longer, more and more women lost jobs. Such that in his 3 ½ years, 92.3 percent of the people who have lost jobs have been women."
"His failures have hurt women," Romney said of Obama.
The Romney campaign has backed up their claim by providing employment statistics between January 2009, when Obama first took office, and March 2012, but Democrats and the Obama administration have pounced, saying that the numbers the campaign is using, while not inaccurate, do not reflect the full context of the situation when Obama took office.
But both the Obama campaign and the nonpartisan fact-check site Politifact have taken issue with Romney's figures. Politifact also rated the Romney campaign's claim and the 92 percent figure as "mostly false." Read Politifact's argument here. The site suggested job losses were split between both the Bush and Obama presidencies. Men suffered more job losses at the outset of the recession when President Bush was in office.
"Given the growing gender gap and how women voters are increasingly turning their backs on Mitt Romney's extreme agenda, it's not surprising that Mitt Romney would resort to misleading attacks on the President's record," said Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman. "He may try to pretend that the economic crisis never happened to justify why he supports the policies that created it in the first place, but it won't change the fact that the economy was hemorrhaging 750,000 jobs a month when President Obama took office."
"Because of the President's policies we've since seen 25 straight months of job growth and 4 million jobs- including over 1 million for women- created in the private sector," said Smith. "The President has worked every day to help restore women's economic security: from signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which makes it easier for women to receive equal pay for equal work, to ensuring women don't pay more than men for their health care and supporting women-owned small businesses through new access to federal contracting programs."
Romney's economic advisor, Lanhee Chen, said on a conference call that the percentage is an "undisputed fact."
"It is an undisputed fact that women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost since President Obama took office," said Chen. "I know there has been some confirmation about this, folks have discussed the reality of how harsh this economy has been on women, but no amount of spin by the Obama campaign can hide the enormous damage this president has done to American women."
"So the president should stop spinning and stop making excuses for his failure and instead focus on what it's going to take to get American women and the American people back to work," said Chen.
The Romney campaign, further seeking to drive their point home about the Obama economy's damage to women, sent out three press releases in defense of their argument from female Romney backers, including Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, Former Massachusetts Lt. Gov, Kerry Healey and Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.