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November 10, 2012

Local GOPers react to election

Going into the 2012 election season against the backdrop of lingering economic weakness and high energy prices, President Barack Obama was seen by many Republicans as being in a vulnerable position when matched against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

As recently as last Sunday, national GOP strategist Karl Rove, the organizer of two political action committees that spent millions of dollars to defeat Obama, predicted that Romney would win enough Electoral College votes to be the next president and take a majority of the popular vote as well.

On Tuesday night, of course, the story would be utterly different: Obama held onto the reins of power by leaving Romney in the dust when it came to Electoral College votes and taking every battleground state except for North Carolina.

What happened?

Maria Kelso, the Delaware County Republican chairwoman, said Republicans “shot themselves in the foot” by engaging with Democrats on such issues as women’s health care and Medicare. She said that allowed the Democrats to frame those types of hot-button domestic issues as important focal points in the presidential race.

“We should leave the women’s issues alone and let the women do what they want to do,” said Kelso. She said she believed two GOP politicians who were frontrunners in their Senate races until they ignited firestorms by making controversial remarks about women’s health issues deserved to be defeated — and they were.

She was referring to Richard Mourdock of Indiana, who had said that a pregnancy resulting from a rape was “a gift from God,” and Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who had claimed that women who are the victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant.

Kelso also said Republicans did not effectively counter what she called efforts by Democrats to scare elderly Americans into believing that they would lose Medicare coverage if Romney was elected.

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