Mitt Romney is starting to hone his appeal to female voters, acutely aware as he turns to the general election that he has little choice but to narrow President Obama's commanding lead among this critical constituency. None too soon, say many Republican activists. They expect Romney, as well as his popular wife, Ann, to make an explicit pitch to female voters on the economy and jobs, their top issues. The eventual nominee "needs to start recognizing the power that women voters have," says the president of the National Federation of Republican Women.
Romney, on pace to clinch the nomination in June, if not earlier, acknowledges that the GOP faces a historical challenge in closing the advantage Democrats have with women. Like Obama, he sees pocketbook issues as the key to winning them. "We have work to do to make sure we take our message to the women of America, so they understand how we're going to get good jobs and we're going to have a bright economic future for them and for their kids," Romney said this week. Obama, of course, is making much the same argument, and the battle for women's votes already has been a hot topic in the national conversation.