Republicans need to “get off” the issue of contraception and “fix” the perception that the party has spurned women, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared Sunday.
The party’s 2008 standard-bearer, now a Mitt Romney surrogate, was asked by David Gregory on NBC’s Meet The Press whether he thinks that “there is something of a war on women among Republicans.”
“I think we have to fix that,” McCain said. “I think that there is a perception out there, because of the way that this whole contraception issue played out. We need to get off of that issue, in my view. I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives, and make that clear, and get back on to what the American people really care about: jobs and the economy.”
The comments reflect deep unease that has settled in the GOP over their push for the Blunt Amendment to roll back the Obama administration’s birth control rule, which McCain and all but one Senate Republican voted for. Democrats struck it down, and after subsequent events that cast the party in a harsh light on the issue of women’s health, Republican leaders in both chambers have since slow-walked the matter.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has expressed a similar lament about the damage the issue has done to the party, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the sponsor of the controversial amendment, has all but conceded defeat in the upper chamber.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.