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'This is not the 1950s'

<p>How important is reproductive rights and women's health to President Obama's re-election campaign?</p>

How important is reproductive rights and women's health to President Obama's re-election campaign? For the third time in less than a month, the Democratic campaign has released a television ad on the issue, putting women's rights up front and center.

In this new spot, viewers are introduced to two women, one of whom says, "This is not the 1950s. Contraception is so important to women. It's about a woman being able to make decisions." The other explained, "I think Mitt Romney's really out of touch with the average woman's health issues.... I don't remember anyone as extreme as Romney."

The spot also shows Romney twice saying he intends to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

To reiterate a point from last week, it's fascinating to see Obama's team focus so heavily on women's health -- an issue that, as recently as the spring, Republicans thought they might leverage as a culture-war wedge against the president.

Will the 2012 race be defined by the culture war? Almost certainly not. But there are still plenty of voters who care deeply about social issues, and who were outraged by the "war on women" agenda pushed by GOP officials for much of the year. Obama and his team clearly believe they have the upper hand on reproductive rights this year, and the fact that Democrats are on the offensive speaks volumes about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the right's anti-choice, anti-contraception, anti-Planned Parenthood agenda of late.

According to the Obama campaign, this new ad began airing in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. over the weekend.