Obama campaign aims pitch at Colorado women

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DENVER — If you’re a Colorado woman who’s registered as a Democrat or unaffiliated voter, expect a phone call or a flier in your mailbox very soon, courtesy of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

Long before Republicans turned a debate over birth control into a religious battle, Democrats had been looking to model the president’s reelection campaign, at least in part, on Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s 2010 victory over Ken Buck, one of the party’s few bright spots in a heavy GOP year.

Now, they’re just starting their outreach to women voters a bit early, revving up operations in 12 swing states, Colorado included, to capitalize on the day’s headlines and comments from the GOP campaign trail that might rub moderate suburban women the wrong way.

“It’s Republicans who, through their own choice, have brought up these very divisive social issues,” said Rick Palacio, the chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party. “They’re creating their own mess for themselves. And if they continue this divisive argument over women and women’s issues, I think it’s going to put us over the edge again.”

At the campaign’s Denver headquarters on Wednesday, Barb Wahl, a nurse from Aurora, took part in a conference call to make the campaign’s case to reporters.

A few hours later at a campaign office in Lakewood, a small group of women volunteers made phone calls, talking to other women about the differences between the President and some Republicans on women’s issues.

“Health care for women is very important,” said Lorena Houchen of Lakewood in between calls. “Trying to make it a religious issue is ridiculous. Most of the women in the country want to have health care. They want to have the option of being able to control their own lives and their own body.”

Women, traditionally a Democrat-leaning electorate, were the difference for Republicans in most races in 2010, just as Obama won 56 percent of the female vote in 2008 on his way to a landslide victory over Sen. John McCain.

“”Democrats are trying to use this strategy because they’re left with none other,” said Ryan Call, Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. “The reality is that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party want to talk about anything but their record.

“And the reality is that women are primarily concerned with what affects their families: $4 a gallon gasoline, an economy that makes it hard to support your family and a massive debt that their children are going to inherit.”