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In Colorado Senate race, has Cory Gardner 'neutralized' attacks claiming he opposes birth control?

Colorado Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner has a problem. His campaign has focused on energy, jobs, ObamaCare, environmental regulation — on a whole range of issues important in Colorado and the nation right now. But Gardner has become another GOP candidate snagged on social issues as his opponent, Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, slams him relentlessly on the subject of contraception, claiming Gardner would "make birth control illegal."

There's some evidence Udall's attacks are working; he has a big lead among women voters in Colorado, although Gardner has an equally large lead among men, and the race appears virtually tied. (Udall leads by a single point in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, but there was no public polling of the Colorado race in August, so we won't really know until new surveys are done.)

Despite a generally favorable outlook, some Republican operatives across the country remain worried that Democrats might be able to eke out another victory or two on the argument that the GOP opposes women's rights. And Colorado is one of those races in which Democrats have made social issues a very big deal. So now, Gardner has released a new ad that has the feel of a candidate trying to one-up his opponent and take an issue off the table. Udall says Gardner will ban contraception? Well, not only is that not true, but Gardner will come out in favor of birth control pills for anybody, anytime, over the counter, no prescription needed. Here is Gardner's latest ad, which features the candidate talking to a group of women:

What’s the difference between me and Mark Udall on contraception? I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock, without a prescription — cheaper and easier, for you.

Mark Udall’s plan is different. He wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your healthcare plan. That means more politics, and more profits for drug companies.

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