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Democrats Ratchet Up the War for Women's Votes in Charlotte

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Fluke framed the election as a choice between "a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom or one where that freedom doesn't apply to our bodies and our voices."

Democrats believe the dispute over paying for contraception is a surefire winner among women, given the prevalence of its use and its cost, and that it will help the president maintain his lead among female voters.

Ledbetter, meanwhile, had the crowd cheering her zinger against Romney, saying that women still only make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

"Maybe 23 cents doesn't sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, a Cayman Islands investment, an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars," she said. "Three years ago, the House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act to level the playing field for women in America. The Senate Republicans blocked it. Mitt Romney won't even say if he supports it."

The Romney campaign quickly put out a statement pointing to a Romney interview where he declared he supported equal pay and would not change the law. But in that interview, he declined to say whether he would have signed it in the first place.

Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood, noted Mitt Romney and the GOP's push to cut the group's funding and overturn Roe v. Wade.

"This past year, women learned that when we aren't at the table, we're on the menu. So this November, women are organizing, we are mobilizing and we're voting for the leaders who fight for us," she said.

The GOP convention worked overtime to try and rehabilitate Mitt Romney's appeal to women. Ann Romney's heartfelt anecdotes about her husband was punctuated by her declaration, "I love you women!" Later in the nominee's own speech, Romney said his wife's job as a mother is tougher than his own. Romney highlighted the women he chose for top jobs in his administrations - and the other women given prime speaking slots at the convention.

But his central appeal to women was still about the economy.

"Today, women are more likely than men to start a business. They need a president who respects and understands what they do," Romney said.

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