-- The political arm of Planned Parenthood officially endorsed President Barack Obama on Wednesday, and simultaneously announced a seven-figure ad buy targeting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
The $1.7 million television ad campaign, which will run in markets in Florida, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Iowa through June 19 , criticizes Romney for pledging to end federal funding to the reproductive health group. Planned Parenthood has long been a target of Republicans because it provides abortion services and access to contraception at its clinics.
The 30-second ad, titled "Out of Touch," is part of a larger effort to cast Romney as a candidate whose policies would be bad for women, a criticism that Obama and other Democrats have leveled throughout the year.
"Unlike President Obama, what Mitt Romney doesn't seem to understand is that women's health issues are economic issues for women and families," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards in a statement. "The fact that Mitt Romney doesn't understand that shows just how out of touch and wrong for women he really is."
Romney's campaign has pushed back on the characterization, saying that Obama is casting "the real war on women" through his administration's economic policies.
"This president did not cause the recession; he just made it worse and made it longer," Romney said in April. "And it's been harder for the recovery to occur. And, as a result, women have suffered."