— CINCINNATI (AP) — President Barack Obama, seeking to shore up support among women, intensified his pressure Thursday on Mitt Romney to break any ties with a Republican Senate candidate who said that if a woman becomes pregnant from rape it is "something God intended." Romney ignored the emotional social issue, holding to an optimistic campaign tone as he fought for victory in crucial Ohio.
Obama, wrapping up a 40-hour battleground state blitz, was heading for his hometown of Chicago to cast his ballot 12 days before Election Day. The stopover was more than a photo opportunity — it was a high-profile attempt to boost turnout in early voting, a centerpiece of Obama's strategy.
The president also made repeated, though indirect, references to Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's controversial comment on rape and pregnancy.
"We've seen again this week, I don't think any male politicians should be making health care decisions for women," Obama told a crowd of about 15,000 on an unseasonably warm fall day in Richmond, Va. The president's aides pressed further, using a web video to highlight Romney's endorsement of Mourdock and to accuse the GOP nominee of kowtowing to his party's extreme elements.
Romney, who appears in a television advertisement declaring his support for Mourdock, brushed aside questions on the matter from reporters during a stop at a downtown Cincinnati diner. He centered his efforts instead on turning his campaign's claims of momentum into a more practical — and ultimately necessary — roadmap to winning the required 270 Electoral College votes. Ohio is crucial to that effort.
"This election is not about me," Romney told a 3,000-person crowd at a southern Ohio manufacturing company. "It's not about the Republican Party. It's about America. And it's about your family."