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Obama's big problem for re-election campaign


AMIE PARNES

Source:
The Hill
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/6/2012

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ABSTRACTObama administration faces backlash over rule ordering birth control coverage - TheHill.com Follow @thehill Advanced Search Options » Home/News Senate House Administration Campaign Polls Business & Lobbying Sunday Talk Shows News by Subject Defense & Homeland Security Energy & Environment Healthcare Finance & Economy Technology Foreign Policy Labor Transportation & Infrastructure Campaign 2012 Business & Lobbying K Street Insiders Lobbying Contracts Lobbying Hires Lobbying Revenue Opinion Columnists Editorials Letters Op-Ed Weyants World Capital Living Gossip: In The Know Cover Stories Food & Drink Announcements Meet the Lawmaker Onward & Upward 20 Questions New Member of the Week Jobs Video The Washington Scene Home Party/Events Pictures Calendar Announcements In the Know Dining People Congress Pundits Briefing Room Twitter Room Hillicon Valley E2-Wire Ballot Box On The Money Healthwatch Floor Action Transportation GOP12 DEFCON Hill Home Senate House Administration Campaign Polls Business & Lobbying Sunday Talk Shows Blogs Congress Pundits Briefing Room Twitter Room Hillicon Valley E2-Wire Ballot Box On The Money Healthwatch Floor Action Transportation GOP12 DEFCON Hill Business & Lobbying K Street Insiders News by Subject Defense & Homeland Security Energy & Environment Finance & Economy Technology All News by Subject Opinion A.B. Stoddard Brent Budowsky Lanny Davis John Del Cecato Ben Goddard David Hill Cheri Jacobus David Keene Mark Mellman Dick Morris Markos Moulitsas (Kos) Robin Bronk Editorials Letters Op-Eds Juan Williams Judd Gregg Christian Heinze Karen Finney John Feehery Capital Living Gossip: In the Know Cover Stories Food & Drink Announcements New Member of the Week All Capital Living Social Washington Scene Video HillTube Resources Mobile Site iPhone Android iPad Election 2010 Lawmaker Ratings White Papers Classifieds Order Reprints Last 6 Issues Outside Links RSS Feeds Contact Us Advertise Reach Us Submitting Letters Submitting Op-eds Subscriptions   Obama administration faces backlash over rule ordering birth control coverage By Amie Parnes - 02/06/12 09:19 PM ET Tweet President Obama’s decision to force employers, including religious institutions, to provide health insurance coverage for contraception is becoming a big problem for his reelection campaign. GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney launched a petition on Monday against the mandate, arguing it was an attack by Obama on “religious liberty.” Conservatives, including Catholics such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), are attacking the administration for the decision. And now, nine months before the presidential election, the backlash is growing even among Obama supporters, who say the move was politically tone-deaf. “These kind of issues have a powerful symbolic hold on religious voters and could cost [Obama] votes in liberal working-class areas that would otherwise go toward the Democrat,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “[His] support is not deep enough that he can count on their loyalty regardless of his stand on these sorts of issues.” One former administration official went further, saying, “When you’re planning these types of decisions, you should never be surprised, and it seems like they were caught off guard a bit by the reaction of people like E.J Dionne.” In a piece over the weekend, the Washington Post columnist, a fan of Obama, wrote that the administration “utterly botched” the issue and “threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus,” giving more ammunition to those in the church who aim to derail the new healthcare law. Douglas Kmiec, a prominent supporter of Obama in 2008 and the president’s former ambassador to Malta, said Monday that he might not support his reelection. “Until I have an opportunity to speak with the president, I am for now (unhappily) without a candidate,” Kmiec wrote in an email. RELATED ARTICLES Lawmaker warns ruling could force groups out of healthcare Romney rips Obama for attack on 'religious liberty' Planned Parenthood poll: Voters side with Obama After winning the Nevada caucuses on Saturday night, Romney, who last week called the contraception decision “wrong and indefensible,” fired another shot. “President Obama orders religious organizations to violate their conscience,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “I will defend religious liberty and overturn regulations that trample on our first freedom.” Romney forced the issue further Monday when he launched a petition against the mandate. “If you’ve had enough of the Obama Administration’s attacks on religious liberty, stand with me & sign the petition,” he wrote on his Twitter page. Less than an hour later, Stephanie Cutter, an Obama deputy campaign manager, pushed back, calling Romney hypocritical. “Hope petition signers don’t find out Mitt’s [Massachuset.......