Laura Bush Says Republicans 'Frightened' Women

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Some Republican candidates in the 2012 elections "frightened" women, says former first lady Laura Bush.

CNN's Erin Burnett asked Bush Monday in an interview whether Republicans making social issues like gay marriage and abortion so central to the platform led to more than half of women voters voting for President Obama.

"There are obvious examples of candidates that were - that I think frightened some women, but they were the exception rather than the norm in the party," Bush said. "There are all of those social issues that are very, very heartfelt by people. And I understand that. There are differences and there just will be."

Several Republican candidates made comments on social issues during the 2012 election cycle that received criticism from the public. In August, U.S. Senate candidate and former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., received backlash when he made comments about "legitimate rape" rarely resulting in pregnancy. He later lost the election by a wide margin to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Bush has been an outspoken supporter of women's rights since her time in the White House. She currently chairs the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute and travels around the world advocating for women's rights.

Bush said that what she liked most about the Republican Party was that there's room for all opinions on different issues.

"And I'm glad that in our party we have room for all," she said. "I think that's important too."