It was no secret inside the West Wing that Bill Daley, a Catholic with deep connections to the church hierarchy, vehemently opposed the administration’s proposal to require church-run hospitals and universities to give their employees free contraception.
But it was the way he pushed his case that aggravated some women on President Barack Obama’s senior staff, according to current and former administration officials. In early November, without consulting them, Daley set up a four-man Oval Office meeting for himself, Obama, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Vice President Joe Biden, who both shared the view that the policy would sink the president with Catholic voters.
Obama, a person close to him tells POLITICO, hadn’t made any final decision, hadn’t fully analyzed the dueling arguments, hadn’t expressed a strong policy preference, and felt “mildly uncomfortable” being put on the spot…
Several of the president’s most influential female advisers — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett among them — were angry by what they viewed as a Daley power play and made their sentiment known to Obama, according to several people close the situation. Daley could not be reached for comment.