Obama said women's issues resonated with him because of his wife and his late mother. The president said he wanted to ensure that his wife "has control over her health-care choices" and noted that his mother would have been 70 this year had she not died from cancer nearly two decades ago.
"I often think about what might have happened if a doctor had caught her cancer sooner," Obama said.
The president highlighted his decision to nominate Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and said the next president "could tip the balance in a way that turns back the clock for women in the next decade to come."
The president was introduced by Sandra Fluke, whose congressional testimony became a flash point for arguments over contraception, abortion, and women's health earlier in the year. Fluke gained notoriety after talk-show host Rush Limbaugh called her a slut because she supports the Obama health-care law's requirement that insurance companies cover contraception.
Fluke said that when she was "verbally attacked," Obama "was one of us."
From Denver, Obama headed to Grand Junction, Colo., an area that leans Republican. In front of a raucous crowd in a high school gymnasium, Obama pressed forward with his effort to paint Romney as protector of the rich because of his support for extending Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels.
Obama wants to extend the tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year. Under his plan, families who make more would still be taxed on a lower rate for their first $250,000 in income and at a higher rate for any additional income.
Romney says raising taxes on higher incomes would stifle job creation.
Also Wednesday the White House said Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts, opposes the youth organization's recently reaffirmed policy of excluding gays as members and adult leaders. He has no plans to resign the post, the White House said.
The Scouts said in a statement that they respect Obama's opinion and believe that "good people" can disagree on the subject and still work together.
American presidents have been honorary presidents of the Boy Scouts for a century.
For three weeks, the White House did not comment on the Scouts' decision. On Wednesday, the press office issued an e-mail to the Associated Press on the subject.