TAMPA, Fla.—President Barack Obama didn't name names, but at a Thursday rally he subtly tied challenger Mitt Romney to Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's controversial comments about abortion.
"As we saw again this week, I don't think any politician in Washington, most of whom are male, should be making health care decisions for women," Obama told an early morning crowd of about 8,500 here. "Women can make those decisions themselves." (The president used similar wording on the subject while appearing on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" Wednesday night.)
He added that a Romney victory would "turn back the clock 50 years for women" and urged supporters to vote for him early.
Obama's "As we saw again this week" was a reference to Mourdock, who came under fire after saying during a Senate debate in Indiana that conception that results from a rape is part of God's plan.
"Life is that gift from God," Mourdock said when asked about his stance on abortion. "I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen."
Obama's re-election campaign on Wednesday had denounced Mourdock's remarks as "outrageous and demeaning" and pressed Romney to repudiate his fellow Republican.
Romney has officially endorsed Mourdock, but quickly moved to distance himself from those specific comments. The former governor of Massachusetts has said that he believes abortion should not be legal, with exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother's life is in danger.
The Obama campaign has made a special effort to reach women voters this election cycle, although recent polling suggests Romney has made gains with women in the final weeks of the campaign.