If you live in a swing state, you no doubt experienced either a knock at the door, call on your phone, and mail on your steps along with lots of ads on your television.
Few remained untouched by get-out-the vote weekend.
For most campaigns, it was a last chance to woo a voter into supporting their candidates and those campaigns—and their support organizations—weren’t going to let it go without a fight. The control of the White House, the control of the Senate and potentially even the control of the House could be in the balance.
NARAL Pro-Choice America was out on the streets, literally, with President Nancy Keenan tweeting from the ground in Ohio, where the national organization appears to be focusing much of their effort over the weekend. EMILY’s List hit numerous states where their endorsed candidates are in tight races, running television ads in Wisconsin supporting senate candidate Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, providing phone banks for Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill’s reelection, and offering get-out-the-vote ground support in key swing states. Meanwhile, President Stephanie Schriock assisted in New Hampshire, where the sole female Democratic candidate for governor and a potential first full female slate elected in the nation could be in the making.
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“There are so many exciting races coming down to these last few days,” Jess McIntosh, Deputy Communications Director, told Rewire. “We’re making sure we’re mobilizing our network, now almost two million strong, and getting women to the polls.”
Anti-choice action groups were just as committed to their own candidates. The Susan B. Anthony List pledged to robo-call four million voters in swing states, reminding them to get out and vote for Mitt Romney for president. Their message? The reelection of Obama, whom they call the most “pro-abortion president we’ve ever had” means that “more and more babies will never be born.”
“With only four days to go, we are leaving nothing on the table – voters must know this President’s extreme abortion record before casting their vote,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement as reported by Huffington Post. “In 2004, 22 percent of voters cited ‘moral values’ including abortion as their most important issue, and 80 percent of those supported President Bush, clinching victory in an election that came down to 537 votes in the swing state of Florida. The pro-life issue is a winner, and pro-life voters are capable of securing victory in close elections.”
While the SBA List was doing robo-calls for the presidential race, Focus on the Family sent out mailers to boost anti-choice candidates in tight senate races. Using a bit of revisionist history, one group of mailers being sent to voters in Missouri, Ohio, and Montana claimed that Senators Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown, and Jon Tester were willing to “shut down the government” if federal funding to Planned Parenthood was eliminated.
Q: How far did Sherrod Brown go to keep your tax dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood? A: He vowed to shut down the government unless your tax dollars went to the abortion giant. With taxpayers already overwhelmed with debt and wasteful spending, why are Brown’s priorities so out of step with Ohio?
Another set of mailers accused Democrats of waging a “war on women” for not voting in favor of banning so-called gender selection abortions.
Both SBA List and Americans United for Life have become heavily invested in the Nebraska senate race, where former Senator Bob Kerrey is running against state Senator Deb Fischer. According to the Kearney Hub, AUL sent out mailers on Fischer’s behalf, and the SBA List has purchased $40,000 in radio ads against Kerrey calling him an extremist because he voted against the so-called “partial birth abortion” ban while he was in Congress. Kerrey has spent the closing days of his campaign calling Fischer an extremist instead, due to her refusal to allow rape victims abortion access if they are impregnated during a sexual assault.
Anti-choice groups may be working to ensure that abortion, Planned Parenthood and the future of Roe v. Wade are foremost on voters minds when they go to cast their votes, but that may not be entirely welcome news for the Romney campaign, which is making careful choices about what parts of the candidate’s stance on reproductive autonomy they want emphasized. Bloomberg News reports that depending on what state his campaign ads are broadcasting in, he may even be moderating the same anti-choice positions the political action groups have been trying to use to rally the values voters.
What voters are being told is at stake for abortion and reproductive rights in the U.S. presidential race depends upon where they live.
Republican Mitt Romney’s only television ad on those issues airs in population centers of closely contested states including Virginia, Florida and Ohio. It features a woman at her home computer assuring viewers that the former Massachusetts governor “doesn’t oppose contraception at all,” and “thinks abortions should be an option” in some cases.
The ad’s emphasis differs from Romney’s message as he sought his party’s nomination. During that phase of the campaign, he stressed his opposition to most abortions and bashed President Barack Obama’s health-care law for requiring religious groups to include contraception coverage as part of their medical insurance for employees.
Will reproductive rights motivate both sides voters to the polls, as both sides are hoping? We’ll find out on Tuesday when the results are in.