"It's too bad, with all the challenges facing women, that the Republicans have chosen to focus on contraception"
That's the gist of the quote by a self identified Democratic pollster, as broadcast on The Daily Wrap.
This is the problem which Republicans have been facing for some time and presumably will into the indefinite future. Their opponents get to set the debate terms.
For the record, Republicans did not choose to focus on contraception, they chose to focus on a Constitutional power grab by the Executive Branch. If you haven't been paying attention, the Obama Administration decided to force all employers to provide free contraception as a part of their health care plans. There were no exemptions for religious objectors such as hospitals, clinics, and universities run by the Catholic church. Republicans, and conservatives more generally, objected. This directive was a direct violation of the separation of church and state. Their objections, however, were quickly characterized by the Democrats as a "war on women", a phrase which was quickly picked up by the mainstream media and the conventional meme became that Republicans wished to prevent women from obtaining birth control. Never mind that women were and are free to buy their own contraception. Republicans were widely reported as wanting to deny women access.
There is a more general issue here that Republicans and conservatives face, however. The Republican presidential candidates have constantly allowed themselves to be distracted from the issues. Throughout the debates (mostly moderated by left leaning news organizations), questions irrelevant to the office of the president of the United States were asked of the candidates, and the candidates answered. Instead of redirecting the discussion back to the horrendous job that the current administration has done and their indefensible record, the candidates allowed the mediators to guide the discussion to irrelevant issues.
Generally conservatives win on the issues. Our ideas are more defensible than those of the left, and the American people are generally conservative. Only if conservative candidates and officeholders can start ignoring the distraction and consistently making the case for conservative ideas will we overcome the constant and ongoing distortion of our ideas and our message by the left and the mainstream media.