Planned Parenthood slams GOP self-critique

"The report appears to blame voter turnout operations, messaging, and other tactical failures for the GOP’s losses in 2012 and utterly fails to recognize that the candidates’ positions on women’s health were defining and decisive issues," Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) Vice President Dawn Laguens wrote in a memo.

"Candidates who would limit access to birth control, overturn Roe v. Wade, and defund Planned Parenthood lost in November because the majority of voters disagree with their agenda."

The 2012 cycle was characterized by several political fights over women's health issues, including abortion, President Obama's birth-control coverage policy and federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

For some, phrases like "legitimate rape" came to symbolize a Republican Party struggling not to alienate undecided women voters.

Monday's RNC report urged "drastic changes" in party tactics, especially when it comes to addressing women, but did not mention specific policy debates. 

"The RNC must improve its efforts to include female voters and promote women to leadership ranks within the committee," the report stated.

"Additionally, when developing our party's message, women need to be part of this process to represent some of the unique concerns that female voters may have."

Women's votes proved a major asset for Obama in November. Gallup reported the largest gender gap in the firm's history — 20 points, with women favoring Obama by 12 points.

Pollster Jeffrey Jones predicted that Democrats will seek to further strengthen their support among women as a long-term electoral strategy.

"It remains to be seen whether and how the Republican Party will change course to try to broaden its appeal to women without forfeiting the strong support of men," Jones wrote.

The new RNC document said the GOP must connect with women voters with softer language, fewer "graphs and charts" and by assembling a strong list of female surrogates to do media appearances.

Republicans must also "relentlessly attack" Democrats for their "war on women" campaign slogan and push more GOP women to run for office.

"Many female voters feel that Washington, D.C., is a city full of politicians that simply don't listen and don't understand what their daily lives are like," the report states.

"Female candidates are far better at connecting with these voters because they are more likely to understand them."