Report: Obama doubles down on new contraception rule at Democratic retreat

But … what about the big climbdown? Ah well. Maybe he took a second look at what Planned Parenthood did to Komen and thought better of it. Even the man who leads the greatest army in the world needs to know when he’s outgunned.

Besides, how many divisions does the Pope have?

President Obama “reinforced” his stance on the controversial contraception mandate while speaking at the Democrats’ annual retreat at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. today, Senate Democrats said.

The retreat was closed to media.

Following President Obama’s speech at the retreat, a small group of Senate Democrats, mostly women, left the retreat early in order to hold a news conference on Capitol Hill to counter the Republicans’ news conference today at which they called for the mandate to be overturned…

“The power to decide whether or not to use contraception lies with a woman – not her boss,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “What is more intrusive than trying to allow an employer to make medical decisions for someone who works for them?”

Anyone want to field that question from ObamaCare supporter Kirsten Gillibrand? Also, I’m pretty sure religiously-affiliated groups don’t claim the power to decide whether women employees should “use” contraception; if they did, we wouldn’t be having a conversation over who should pay for the contraception that their employees use. (Answer: You should, of course, by paying higher premiums to subsidize the cost of birth control to the insurer.) If you missed it at the Weekly Standard, go read the Hawaii “compromise” proposal that’s kicking around in Democratic circles. In lieu of making religiously-affiliated groups pay, the new rule instead would … force them to tell employees where they can go to get birth control — i.e. “the Catholic Church must directly send women to drugs and devices that are morally wrong and can do harm to them.” It’s as if HHS’s supporters don’t understand the core objection to the policy. It’s not the money, it’s the compulsion applied to the group to promote activity that it considers immoral as a matter of faith. Or maybe they understand it just fine and that’s the real point of all this — to pressure religious holdouts into promoting contraception, however grudgingly, in order to remove any last lingering bits of stigma attached to it. After all, if the Hawaii compromise is on the table, then it’s not really about the money for HHS’s supporters either.

The GOP is already working on a bill to rescind the HHS rule, which means political war until this is resolved. How eager are swing-state Democrats to end up in no man’s land? Over to you, Tim Kaine:

“I think the White House made a good decision in including a mandate for contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act insurance policy, but I think they made a bad decision in not allowing a broad enough religious employer exemption,” Kaine said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by his campaign.

“This is something that’s been talked about a lot today and I have definitely expressed my grave concerns to the White House about that. I support the contraception mandate but there should be a religious employer exemption that is broader than the one they proposed.”

Kaine, who is Catholic, has spoken frequently about the importance of faith throughout his career. He has cited it in discussing his opposition to the death penalty and his position on abortion. Kaine says he is personally opposed to abortion and has supported some restrictions, but he does not believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

Remember, this is a guy who was handpicked by Obama to lead the DNC in 2009 who’s now inching away from him. Bob Casey, another pro-life Catholic Democrat from a swing state (Pennsylvania), also called on O today to rescind the rule for groups with faith missions. Can’t wait to hear from other vulnerable Dems like Jon Tester as the battle is joined, just like I can’t wait to hear how lifelike talking-points robot Debbie Wasserman-Schultz ends up finessing her comments here down the road when O does finally start to climb down. Exit question: Who’s going to pay for the employees’ contraception when some of these religiously-affiliated groups end up shutting down in protest, as some Catholic charities have already begun to do vis-a-vis considering gays for adoption?