President Obama's decision to require Catholic hospitals and universities to include birth control in employee health plans was bound to anger the church. But the backlash has gone beyond church leaders, Politico notes—even Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne, a liberal Catholic who typically backs Obama, accused the president of throwing "Catholic allies under the bus" in a column this week. And Marco Rubio thinks the decision will hurt Obama not just among religious people, but in general, "because it reflects a pattern of overreach," he says.
Obama's decision underscores his recent tendency to side—at least when it comes to issues that are important to him—with his base, rather than with people who might vote for him but probably will not, Politico notes. Even so, the election-year decision is risky, considering many white Catholics are independent voters who could influence battleground states. But, as one senior aide to a Senate Democrat points out, "Catholics who don’t believe in condoms aren’t going to vote for Barack Obama anyway. Let’s get real." Click to see what Newt Gingrich has to say on the matter.