In a far-reaching interview on Fox News Sunday, Mitt Romney pointed to the health care reforms he enacted as Massachusetts governor to defend the oft-leveled charge that he's weak on women's issues.
"Look, I'm the guy who was able to get health care for all the women and men in my state," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told host Chris Wallace in the interview, which was pre-taped while Romney was on the campaign trail in Michigan earlier this week.
"We actually did something and we did it without cutting Medicare and without raising taxes...I'm very proud of what we did."
Of course, Romney's Massachusetts health care reforms have also been something of a political liability this election season, as in many ways, "Romneycare" was the blueprint for President Obama's own health care reform package—a law which is loathed on the right.
When Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul recently had positive things to say about Romneycare, she triggered a furious backlash among conservatives. Romney's new comments suggest his campaign has decided that the benefits of talking about the law, as a way to reach out to women and swing voters, outweigh the downsides.
Further defending his record on women's rights, Romney said he recognizes that Americans "should have a right to use contraceptives." On abortion, Romney tried to cast the issue as one that transcends gender: “It’s not just men who think one way, women also in many cases are pro-life. There are two lives at stake: the unborn child and the mom, and I care for both of them.”
And Romney again skewered the GOP's Missouri Senate nominee, Todd Akin, over his factually incorrect claim that women rarely get pregnant from "legitimate rape." Romney called the remarks "offensive" and "outrageous," adding, "I've asked him to get out of the race. I think I've distanced myself from the thing that he said as far as I can."
Wallace also brought up the famously wealthy Romney's financial interests in the Cayman Islands, and a $3 million Swiss bank account that appeared on his 2010 tax returns. The Fox newsman asked Romney why he didn't get rid of them eight years ago—when he first started running for president—to "clear the decks politically."
"I could have said, 'Don't make investments in any foreign companies, in any foreign bonds, in any foreign currency—only U.S. entities," Romney said. "By the way, I don't buy any foreign products, don't have any Japanese TVs, foreign cars. Yeah, I could have done that. But you know I did lead my life...I'm not going to try to hide who I am and try to manipulate my life to try to avoid the truth."
Fox also aired a second interview with Romney—this one pre-taped at the family's vacation home in New Hampshire. Romney, who is eager to better connect with voters after largely being defined in the public eye as lacking the common touch, was seen flipping pancakes, showing off a family "chore wheel" and talking about his love for Costco shirts that come in money-saving three-packs.
Wallace asked Ann Romney about the perception that her husband doesn't understand most Americans. "I wish everyone could see him how I see him," she said.