Romney: 'No. 1' concern for women is economy

Romney aims to increase his appeal to female voters after a poll found women favor President Obama by 18 points in key swing states.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney aimed to increase his appeal to female voters Tuesday, citing his wife, Ann Romney, and continuing to push his message that women's primary concern is the economy. 

"I've had the fun of being out with my wife for the last several days on the campaign trail and she points out that as she talks to women they tell her that their No. 1 concern is the economy," said Romney on "Fox and Friends." 

As Romney's delegate count increases and he moves in the direction of his party's nomination, pundits and political analysts have begun referring to Ann Romney as her husband's political "weapon" on the campaign trail. 

"She's been the secret weapon so far because, unlike her husband, she is not so gaffe-prone," said Democratic strategist and Hill columnist Karen Finney on MSNBC. "There's a level of respect that we want because we care about the economy, we have 401(k)s, we take care of our families and we have a broad range of issues we care about, that's been part of Ann Romney's message." 

However, the president has a strong lead against GOP front-runner Romney in 12 battleground states thanks to a double-digit advantage with women, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released earlier this week. 

Romney holds a one-point lead among men in the poll, but trails with women by 18 points.

The former Massachusetts governor has stayed away from social issues that have plagued the GOP candidates in recent months as Democrats have argued Republicans are waging a "war on women" in the wake of the February controversy over the administration's contraception mandate.

He instead shifted blame to Obama for economic woes affecting women in the United States.

"Women are really struggling in this economy, and I believe that the way we're going to get women voters in our side of the column is by talking about how we're going to get this economy going again, and it's not going to be by attacking the economy and attacking success like this president is doing," he said.