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October 26, 2012

Obama pressures Romney to break his Mourdock ties

CINCINNATI (AP) — President Barack Obama, seeking to shore up support among women, intensified his pressure yesterday on Mitt Romney to break any ties with a Republican Senate candidate who said that if a woman becomes pregnant from rape it is “something God intended.” Romney ignored the emotional social issue, holding to an optimistic campaign tone as he fought for victory in crucial Ohio.

Obama, wrapping up a 40-hour battleground state blitz, also headed to his hometown of Chicago and cast his ballot 12 days before Election Day. The stopover was more than a photo opportunity — it was a high-profile attempt to boost turnout in early voting, a centerpiece of Obama’s strategy.

The 2012 presidential contest was expected to cross the $2 billion fundraising mark yesterday, putting the election on track to be the costliest in history. It’s being fueled by a campaign finance system vastly altered by the proliferation of “super” political action committees that are bankrolling TV ads in closely contested states.

Back on the campaign trail, the president made repeated, though indirect, references to Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock’s controversial comment on rape and pregnancy.

“We’ve seen again this week, I don’t think any male politicians should be making health care decisions for women,” Obama told a crowd of about 15,000 on an unseasonably warm fall day in Richmond, Va. The president’s aides pressed further, using a web video to highlight Romney’s endorsement of Mourdock and to accuse the GOP nominee of kowtowing to his party’s extreme elements.

Romney, who appears in a television advertisement declaring his support for Mourdock, brushed aside questions on the matter from reporters throughout the day. He centered his efforts instead on turning his campaign’s claims of momentum into a more practical — and ultimately necessary — roadmap to winning the required 270 Electoral College votes. Ohio is crucial to that effort.

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