POWELL, Ohio- Mitt Romney doesn't just want Ohioans to vote for him this fall, he wants female residents here to come out to the polls - making an explicit plea for the female vote today, one that is vital to his victory this November.
"I want to make sure we help entrepreneurs and innovators, I want to speak to the women of America who have dreams, who begin businesses in their homes, who begin businesses out in the marketplace who are working in various enterprises and companies, I want you to be successful," Romney said, delivering a new line in his stump speech tailored to female voters.
"Our campaign is about making it easier for entrepreneurs, women and men, to start businesses, to grow businesses we will champion small business because we know that's where our jobs come," he said at a rally at a park in Powell, Ohio with an estimated 5,000 in attendance.
Knowing how important the female vote is to road to White House, Romney made an obvious play here today to woo women, even being introduced by a female small business owner and mentioning other female entrepreneurs and promising them help if he's elected.
"Just a word to the women entrepreneurs out there," Romney said. "If we become, if we become president and vice president we want to speak to you, we want to help you. Women in this country are more likely to start businesses than men. Women need our help."
His remarks come after a week where remarks made by Missouri congressman and senate candidate Todd Akin about rape and abortion ruled the headlines, taking both Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan away from talking about the economy, and forcing them to denounce Akin's comments and call for him to get out of the race.
He remains a candidate, but the firestorm and Democrats trying to align the GOP ticket with Akin could hurt Romney with the electorate he is trying to lure in with today's remarks: women.
Recent polls show Romney trailing Obama by 10 percentage points when it comes to the coveted female vote.
A recent CNN poll shows Obama leading Romney with female voters 54 percent to 42 percent and a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 24 percent of women felt that Romney was dealing with issues better than Obama, compared with 52 percent who felt Obama did a better job.
Neither of these polls were taken after the Akin controversy.
The best messenger for the Romney campaign on women's issues is his wife, Ann.
She consistently talks about the women she meets on the trail and it's those women she is likely to mention when she addresses the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. Her speech was initially slated for Monday, but to ensure a larger television audience the day was changed.