- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2013

The National Republican Congressional Committee has gone back to basics and teamed up with top aides to help school GOP members facing election challenge on a key campaign skill: How to talk to women.

Even Speaker John Boehner’s aides are getting in on the act, Politico reported. His own top-ranked staffers recently met with leading party aids to discuss strategies to draw in women.

“Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,” said one Republican staffer who was at the strategy session in Mr. Boehner’s office, Politico reported.

The NRCC, meanwhile, has held “multiple sessions” on the same topic, a GOP aide reported.

Part of the fear: The GOP doesn’t want another Todd Akin-like moment, when the Missouri Senate-hopeful dropped with a thud in polls after speaking on the campaign trail about “legitimate rape.” Sen. Saxby Chambliss later attributed some sexual assaults in the military on male hormones, sparking accusations that he was dismissing and making excuses for what’s emerged as a top-talked about criminal issue.

The GOP has also been dogged by Democratic branding as waging a war on women, a mantra that reared frequently during the recent Virginia gubernatorial race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Coming in 2014, the GOP faces 10 races that pit male incumbents against female Democratic Party challengers, Politico reported. And more could crop in the coming months.

Mrs. Wasserman Schultz said Thursday that Republicans could start making inroads with women voters by reauthorizing of the Violence Against Women Act and giving up on their push to defund Planned Parenthood and to curb women’s access to birth control.

“The Republicans have not been able to get the overwhelming support of women and Democrats have because we are right on the issues that matter to women, and they are wrong,” she said. “That is the kind of education they need to give to their candidate, and until they do, they are not going to get much support from women voters in this country.”

Seth McLaughlin contributed to this story.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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