'President Obama Just May Have Lost the Election'

His decision on birth control and Catholics will haunt him: Peggy Noonan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2012 12:54 PM CST
President Obama talks about the economy during an event in Arlington, Va., Friday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Mitt Romney's "inept" line about not being concerned about the poor generated most of the headlines, but it was nowhere near the biggest political gaffe of the week, writes Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal. That would be President Obama's decision to require Catholic institutions to cover birth control in employee health plans. How big of a gaffe? "President Obama just may have lost the election," she writes.

The misguided move already is doing a rare thing—uniting Catholics of both the conservative and liberal stripes. Who wants the government ordering a church to defy a core belief? Remember, too, that lots of Catholics live in battleground states. "There was no reason to pick this fight," writes Noonan. "It reflects political incompetence on a scale so great as to make Mitt Romney's gaffes a little bitty thing." The president has "awakened a sleeping giant." (Read more Mitt Romney 2012 stories.)

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