The Week That Was: Senate Vetoes Birth Control Limits, Michigan Women Love Romney, Democrats "Obsess" Over Suburban Moms & More

Six things you need to know about the candidates and campaign issues right now

Things are moving at a furious pace in the political world. It's almost Super Tuesday, and candidates are traipsing all over the country to seal the deal with voters. To make sure you're up to date on the world of the 2012 election, iVillage gives you your six must-know stories from The Week That Was:

1. Birth control limits defeated in Senate ... for now 
Even though we're still struggling to get the economy back on track, most of the guys running for president are doing a lot of talking about how fertile our lady parts are and seem to be working to turn us all into the next Michelle Duggar. Some Senators were getting in on the effort to curb women's access to birth control by trying to pass a proposal to permit employers and health plans to opt out of covering birth control costs for religious or "other moral" reasons. After lengthy debate, the Senate voted down that effort, keeping in place, for the meantime, most women's ability to have birth control paid for under their health insurance plans. 50 Democrats voted against it, as well as one lone Republican -- Olympia Snowe of Maine, who just announced she won't seek re-election because of the hyper-partisan nature of politics today.

2. Democrats "obsess" over suburban moms
Yes, ladies, you are the ones that they want! The head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told a political group that he is "obsessed" with suburban moms who are "independent" thinkers. Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) commented that the once-called "soccer moms" nee "birth control moms" are his focus in the effort to help his party win back control of the House of Representatives in November. So what do you think, independent suburban mothers? What kind of wooing will it take for the Democrats to get your vote in the fall?

3. Women love Mitt Romney
Political observers were on pins and needles to see if Mitt "I still want to be the frontrunner" Romney could pull out a win in his birth state of Michigan. The former Massachusetts Governor squeaked out a victory over Rick Santorum by just a couple of percentage points, but he did much better there with women voters. Notwithstanding the talk among politicos that Santorum was favored among conservative women, Romney beat Santorum by six points among women, and pre-election day polling in Arizona showed women liked Romney more than Santorum by a 2-to-1 margin. Santorum seems to be acknowledging his woman problem as he now speaks on the campaign trail about all the "strong women" in his life.

4. Middle-aged men are experts on your ovaries
Remember the congressional hearing called a couple of weeks ago on birth control and freedom of religion? It featured a panel of only men to discuss the question of whether religious freedom trumped a woman's ability to have birth control costs covered in her insurance plan. Not to be outdone by a group of mostly white guys on Capitol Hill, Parks and Recreations' Nick Offerman, former SNL member Tim Meadows, Judd Nelson and an all-male group of "women's reproductive health experts" at the site Funny or Die took a look at exactly why men are such experts on our lady parts. After all, said one, "God wouldn't have given women tummy pockets if he didn't want children swimming around in them."

5. Maureen Dowd says the GOP is eating itself alive
The ever-snarky and entertaining The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd drew some criticism for a column she wrote entitled, "Ghastly Outdated Party," in which she wondered why the Republican presidential candidates can't steer clear of extreme conservative views. Dowd pointed to a variety of GOP notables, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who have been publicly scratching their heads over some of the things coming out of the mouths of the presidential wannabes. Dowd mentions one example from former Republican Senator Alan Simpson:

" 'Where you have Senator Santorum’s views, so far to the right, with his attitude on women in the workplace and gays and the bestiality comments and birth control, I do not think it is realistic for Rick Santorum to represent America.' That from the man who accused Anita Hill of perjury."

While Simpson and others quoted in the article pulled no punches, Dowd came under attack for what some perceive to be her loathing of candidates talking openly about their Christian faith.

6. Samantha Bee confounds Grover Norquist
You might not know who he is by name, but Grover Norquist is the mastermind behind Americans for Tax Reform, the group that enlists lawmakers to sign a pledge that they won't ever vote to raise taxes under any circumstances. Samantha Bee from The Daily Show snagged a one-on-one interview with the man Rolling Stone called "the billionaire's best friend," and discovered something amazing -- Norquist came up with the idea for his no tax pledge when he was in 7th grade! I don't know about you, but my 12-year-old isn't sitting around thinking about tax policy. And neither were the tween kids Bee asked about it. I never thought I'd say this, but now I kind of feel sorry for Grover Norquist and his childhood! How about you?

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