Smith noted that Romney "repeatedly praised Governor Scott Walker’s leadership, calling him a ‘hero’ and ‘a man of courage’ " while campaigning in Wisconsin. Walker faces a recall election this summer after his move to prohibit public-sector employees from forming unions drew ire from many in the state.

While Democrats are encouraged about the headway that they've made with female voters —Obama leads Romney with women by 18 percent in swing states, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released this week — they believe that opening up their case beyond the sole issue of contraception is crucial to make the topic a sticking point in the campaign.

On Thursday, the DNC seized on a caterpillar analogy Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made when defending Republicans and trying to make the point that the GOP was not waging a "war on women." Later in the day, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president believed women should be admitted to Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters golf tournament is under way. Democrats likely wanted to see if one of the president's political opponents would oppose opening up the club to female membership.

But while neither of those efforts gained particular steam, Walker's move could provide Democrats the political advantage they were looking for — and plays uniquely into the president's hand. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed by President Obama, providing the administration a sharp contrast with the repeal of the Wisconsin law.

Walker seemed to acknowledge the political liability the bill carried, doing little to mark the occasion of the bill being signed into law. The legislation passed both Wisconsin chambers earlier this year on a party-line vote.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.