In 1994, he ran for Senate against Ted Kennedy and lost. Even though there was no daylight between the two candidates on the issue of abortion (ie, Romney's flip-flopped since then) and Kennedy had a pretty severe problem with he and his family's reputation for womanizing, Romney lost the women's vote by more than 2-1. Its interesting how that happened.
“We made a case against [Romney] focused first of all on his record on business,” says Devine. Kennedy’s staff zeroed in on two aspects of that record—layoffs, particularly of women, at companies taken over by Bain, and the absence of women in senior management positions at Bain itself.
But even in his successful campaign for Governor six years later, Romney lost the women's vote by 9%. Its true that he was running against a woman - Massachusetts state treasurer Shannon O’Brien. But he chose a woman - Kerry Murphy Healey - as his running mate. Even then, he was incredibly clumsy.
In a radio interview, he explained that he and Healy appealed to different constituencies, adding, “That is what has drawn me to Kerry.” Later, he infuriated feminists when, during a debate, he said that O’Brien’s attempts to challenge him on abortion rights was “unbecoming.”
In the end, this about sums it all up.
“I don’t think he would know women’s issues from an Evinrude motor,” says Elizabeth Sherman, an American University professor who founded the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “You get the feeling from this guy that he just doesn’t get it.” He never has. That’s unlikely to change in the next seven months.