THE RACE: War games erupt in White House battle

By Tom Raum

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, April 12 2012 12:50 p.m. MDT

First lady Michelle Obama gives thumbs up as she arrives at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, to announce a major initiative by more than 150 of America's leading nursing organizations and more than 450 nursing schools in 50 states and territories to ensure our nation's nurses are prepared to help meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Everywhere you turn in politics a war is raging — at least of words.

Republicans say President Barack Obama is pursuing wars on religion and the Supreme Court. Democrats counter that Republicans are waging a war on women. And now Republicans are accusing Democrats of mounting an offensive against women.

The drumbeat has increased since Rick Santorum exited the GOP race this week, allowing both Obama and Romney to concentrate their verbal fire on just each other.

Obama fires his broadsides at an opponent "who shall not be named." But we all know he's talking about Romney.

When Obama insisted schools and institutions with religious affiliations must obey his health care law's provision requiring health plans to cover contraception, Catholic bishops denounced it as an affront to religious freedom. Republicans jumped aboard and accused Obama of waging a war on religion.

No, a GOP war on women, Democrats countered. Republicans then suggested Obama was declaring war on the Supreme Court over his pointed remarks about an "unelected" court possibly striking down his signature health overhaul.

Recent polls showing a wide Obama lead over Romney among women aren't lost on either campaign.

Obama convened a White House forum on women. Romney campaigned for two days at female-owned work sites, claiming women workers and business owners were hurt by Obama economic policies.

The sides skirmished over assigning blame for rising female job losses.

The latest provocation: an assertion by Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."

The candidate's wife fired back on Twitter that she chose to stay home and raise five boys and that, "believe me, it was hard work." She told Fox News on Thursday that women should respect each other's choices.

A cease-fire, anyone?

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Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tomraum . For more AP political coverage, look for the 2012 Presidential Race in AP Mobile's Big Stories section. Also follow https://twitter.com/APCampaign and AP journalists covering the campaign: https://twitter.com/AP/ap-campaign-2012 .

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