Meanwhile, Republicans, who have their own woman-heavy lineup of convention speakers, defended their inclusion of a plank in their party platform outlawing abortion in the case of rape.
Colorado is one of the most competitive presidential states, where pollsters estimate about 100,000 undecided voters — the majority of whom are females who favor abortion rights — will decide the race. Both campaigns are fighting hard in the state for the women's vote.
The Romney campaign holds weekly women's phone banks, where female volunteers gather to call other women and urge them to back the Republican ticket. The Obama campaign holds meetings, house parties and canvasses for women, and has television ads attacking Romney's stance on reproductive rights in heavy rotation.
During a campaign visit earlier this month, Obama was introduced by Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who was called a "slut" by Rush Limbaugh for her prepared testimony to a Senate committee that health insurance should cover birth control.
"When it comes to a woman's right to make her own health care choices," Obama said of his opponents, "they want to take us back to policies better suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. Colorado, you have to make sure it doesn't happen."
On Thursday, in an interview with a Denver television station, Romney was asked how he would close the gender gap that persistently shows women favoring Obama.
"I think the issues women care about are the issues that our campaign is focused on — which is, Number One, making sure that women and their kids and other members of their family are able to have good jobs," he said.
Analysts say both candidates face risks.
Romney needs only look to the last competitive election in Colorado, when Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet defied the 2010 GOP landslide by eking a narrow victory over his Republican opponent, Ken Buck.
Bennet painted his opponent as insensitive to women's issues while a debate also raged over a statewide ballot measure to grant legal rights to a fertilized egg. It was overwhelmingly defeated by a 70-30 percent margin but is returning to the ballot in November. Democrats here have eagerly noted that Ryan sponsored a similar bill in Congress.
Veteran Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli said Obama must be careful not to look "extreme" in his use of reproductive issues, but that he's been lucky because Republicans keep bringing them up on their own.
Ciruli said the women swing voters the president is targeting "love politics to be above politics. They love for all of us to be together. They can be very put off by narrow appeals."
Both sides note that Obama's pitch on women's issues may also rally his sometimes disaffected base — just as critical in a nail-biter race where few have yet to choose sides. Indeed, on a recent morning in this key swing suburb, every one of a half-dozen women interviewed on the contest had already made up their minds.
Colleen Faust, a 70-year-old retired teacher and Democrat, recalled writing a paper about a woman's right to birth control when she graduated college in 1965. "I grew up in pre-Roe v. Wade and I don't trust the Republicans," she said, referring to the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
Cherie Harris, 48, a self-identified strong conservative who owns a firearms and self-defense business, scoffed at arguments about women's health issues. "That's a big smoke screen," she said. "My 21- and 22-year-olds, how're they going to be able to find jobs? That's what I worry about as a woman."
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