By Mike Lillis - 03/21/12 05:12 PM EDT
In the Democrats' latest fundraising bid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday accused Republicans of waging a "war on women."
The California Democrat is hoping the GOP's high-profile opposition to President Obama's birth-control mandate will alienate women and independent voters — and lure campaign cash to the Democrats' coffers.
"March 31st is the first quarterly Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadline of 2012 and the first since the Republicans’ unprecedented assault on women’s rights," Pelosi said. "The national media and our opponents will use our grassroots fundraising totals to measure the strength of our opposition to the Republicans’ War on Women."
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Women's healthcare issues have generated countless headlines since last month, when radio personality Rush Limbaugh called a female law student a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her support of Obama's new contraception mandate. Mitt Romney has also entered the debate, calling for an end to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest reproductive health provider, which also offers abortion services.
Pelosi's recent message is just the latest indication that Democrats don't want voters to forget those episodes anytime soon.
Republicans, meanwhile, are hoping to shift the debate elsewhere. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, said Tuesday that Democrats, by focusing so intently on women's issues, are "trying to change the subject" from the economy amid a lingering jobs crisis.
"They're trying to distract America from the real issues. They call it a 'war on women,' and as a woman I'm here to tell you that the Democrats are off base," McMorris Rodgers said. "It's a scare tactic that isn't going to work."
The Democrats think otherwise — they've set March's fundraising goal at $2.5 million.
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