Middleton, WI — At a town hall meeting held at the Marriott Hotel in Middleton, Wisconsin on Sunday, Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan spoke before a group of invited guests — all of whom had been required to RSVP ahead of time and to show identification at the door in order to be admitted into the event. At least two citizens were ejected prior to the start of the meeting after allegedly being labeled as protesters by the Secret Service. The captive audience represented a broad cross section of white, middle to upper class Americans from South Central Wisconsin. Romney and Ryan stopped to visit with folks seated in an overflow area before heading into the “main event,” Romney quipping, “It’s Sunday; isn’t there a golf tournament on somewhere?”
About midway through the function, Romney fielded questions from a few of his supporters. One well-dressed “randomly selected” gentleman rose and began his question for Romney with a statement. He said, “Governor, the Obama administration and friends in the press have been trying to do their best to distract voters from issues like jobs, from debt, from ‘Obamacare,’ by coming up with ‘false issues,’ making contraception an issue, that they suggest… Republicans are having a ‘war on women’ and also suggesting a ‘war on immigrants.'” He then asked Romney how he would persuade women that things such as “more jobs, less debt and less government” are women’s issues. Romney responded by saying, “I wish Ann were here, my wife were here, for a lot of reasons I wish she were here…” (audience: “Hah, hah, hah”) “…but I wish she were here to answer that question in particular, because she says that she’s going across the country and talking with women and what they’re talking about is the debt… and that’s what they’re talking about.”
Romney then went on to address the topic of contraceptives, and characterized Obama’s health care plan as an attack on religious liberty. Romney spoke as if requiring Catholic-run companies to provide comprehensive healthcare (including contraceptive coverage) in their employee healthcare plans is akin to forcing women to use birth control, even if it violates the teachings of their faith. He leaped to the conclusion that women wouldn’t be able to make a decision for themselves on personal family planning matters. (Of course, it does appear that Catholic women would be interested in contraceptive coverage seeing that a national survey found that “98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lives.”) Romney has even gone so far in his beating the drum for what he calls, “Obama’s Assault on Religious Liberty” as to add a page on his official website with the headline, “I Will Not Hesitate to use the Powers of the Presidency to Protect Religious Liberty.” in a statement, he vows on day one of his presidency to “eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith.” (An interesting side note: Is Romney himself not violating one of the teachings of his religion by campaigning for political office on a Sunday, the Sabbath day?)
But not to worry; as Romney concluded his answer to the gentleman’s question on how to persuade women that things such as “more jobs, less debt and less government are women’s issues,” he reassured American women they have nothing to fear: “…this was not a matter of contraceptives… the Republican Party of course is not in any way gonna ban contraceptives.” But he’s not saying they’re planning to provide national healthcare coverage for them either.
Click here for a story about what was happening outside the hotel.