It's an oldie but a goodie in Virginia politics, which is why Democrats are ramping up the abortion debate in time for the fall election. Their goal: win female votes by warning that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Senate candidate George Allen are anti-abortion extremists.
"If they lose women, they lose the election," a top Democratic strategists working on the abortion messaging told Secrets
The Obama campaign moved first against Romney, airing an ad in Virginia charging that Romney wants to ban abortion. "It's a scary time to be a woman," says the woman in the Obama ad. "Mitt Romney is just so out of touch," she adds.
Next to face the Democratic attack is Allen, who made comments earlier this year endorsing so-called "personhood" initiatives that declare life at inception, meaning that virtually any abortion would be barred as well as use of a morning-after pill. Some variations of "personhood" legislation even include a ban on some contraception, which Allen doesn't back.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told Secrets that it plans to use part of its $7.5 million anti-Allen budget to hit his position either in ads or through direct mail. The DSCC reasons that most voters don't agree with personhood legislation and view it as too extreme. Personhood ballot measures have died in Mississippi and Colorado.
Republicans reject the abortion attacks, claiming that women are much more concerned with jobs and the economy to vote just one issue. But one key Democrat told Secrets that labeling Romney and Allen abortion extremists "will move the needle" a bit against them even among women who aren't tuned into the abortion fight.
House roommates: A lot like college
They share positions in one of the most exclusive clubs in America, but life in Washington for four Republican House members sometimes feels a little more like a frat house than royalty.
"People think we have a glamorous life," said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas. "It's a lot like college."
That's because he lives with three other Republican House members, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, John Shimkus of Illinois and Erik Paulsen of Minnesota. They recently huddled with members of the GOP Ripon Society to talk taxes, but revealed what it's like to live in a middle-age bachelor pad.
"We only have one working car among us," Brady joked. "So we're always emailing each other, 'Can I get a ride?' When our wives come, we ask if we can borrow the car so we can get groceries."
They also disclosed the price of admittance to their group house: playing on the congressional baseball team. Scalise explained, "I don't think I was given the choice when I moved into the townhouse. It was one of those things: You pay the rent, you play in the baseball game."
Mainstream Scream: ABC ignores bad economy
This week's Mainstream Media Scream goes to ABC's "World News," which on Friday was the only network to ignore the government's report of dismal second-quarter GDP growth of 1.5 percent. Anchor Josh Elliot, however, did make time for a story about Wall Street's soaring profits and how the five-second rule regarding dropped food is false -- really.
Meanwhile, CBS and Olympics-focused NBC devoted time to the economic bad news, with CBS reporter Bob Schieffer calling the numbers "dismal."
Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker said he was shocked by the omission. "CBS and NBC on Friday night aired full stories on the very weak 1.5 percent second-quarter GDP rate, down from an anemic 2 percent in the first quarter, yet -- incredibly -- ABC's 'World News,' which had time to champion how first lady Michelle Obama brought her 'Let's Move' campaign to London where she 'indulged in some Olympic daydreaming,' didn't consider newsworthy the bad news for President Obama."
Rating: Five out of five screams
Paul Bedard, The Examiner's Washington Secrets columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears each weekday in the Politics section and on washingtonexaminer.com.