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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Randi Kreiss
What's your make-it-or-break-it election issue?

Undecided women voters, especially on Long Island, came into sharp focus during the Hofstra presidential debate. The pundits insist that job growth is the single critical issue for voters, including women — especially undecided women.

That turns out to be a soft number. According to a Gallup poll published by CNN, up to 39 percent of women voters consider abortion rights to be the single most important issue. That is a big number.

In this season of masks and disguises, Mitt Romney has picked a chilling persona: He is running as an extremely right-wing candidate who promises to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that guarantees women the right to terminate a pregnancy. He donned a different disguise when he was running for governor of Massachusetts. Then he was proudly pro-choice, and he rode that decision to the governor’s mansion.

Last week on “The View,” Ann Romney — Mitt apparently was afraid to take on the “sharp-tongued” women hosts — said her husband was pro-choice as a candidate in Massachusetts, but became anti-choice when he considered legislation that would permit “experimentation” on embryos. That so-called experimentation was stem cell research, which even a died-in-the-red Republican like Nancy Reagan supports. The former first lady knows that the scourges of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and spinal cord injuries will benefit from stem cell research. All of which is a separate issue from a woman’s right to choose. Ann Romney just tried to give Mitt cover for his political duplicity.

I will vote for President Obama because I believe he will continue to bolster the economy, create jobs and keep the country safe. Romney’s plans for a continued economic recovery are vague and mysterious. On the debate stage last week, the former governor wore yet another mask — that of a candidate who cares for the “100 percent.” Man, did that sound hollow. You simply cannot denigrate 47 percent of Americans in a closed-door conversation as he did, and then pretend to be empathic and a champion of the underserved and underprivileged. Apparently he sees the 47 percent as a kind of underclass.

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