CBS Highlights Catholic Democrat Alienated by Obama Contraception Mandate

Saturday's CBS Evening News ran a piece highlighting the complaints of a Catholic Democrat - Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter, recounting his opposition to President Obama's attempt to force Catholic employers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Winters asserted that he is "very angry about this," and substitute anchor Elaine Quijano noted that, although he voted for President Obama in 2008, he plans not to vote this year. (Video below)

Quijano used a soundbite of Winters giving a warning to Obama during the show's opening teaser:

ELAINE QUIJANO: President Obama's policy on contraception proves to be a bitter pill for Catholic bishops, and for many of the faithful as well.

MICHAEL SEAN WINTERS, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER: Don't be meddling in my church.

As she introduced the story the CBS substitute anchor noted that Catholic bishops had rejected an attempt by President Obama to compromise with him on the contraception mandate, and warned that the President is risking his reelection:

Roman Catholic bishops say President Obama's revised policy on contraception coverage for employees, quote, "continues to involve needless government intrusion on the internal governance of religious institutions." Some among the Catholic rank and file agree, and that's tonight's "Weekend Journal," the issue that threatens to alienate a key block of the President's winning 2008 coalition.

The report balanced out Winters's critcisms of Obama by also including a nurse who works for a Catholic hospital who wants the contraception mandate to be adopted as she claims her family "can't afford" $30 a month to pay for birth control pills.

After running the clip of Winters warning President Obama against "meddling in my church," Quijano concluded the report by informing viewers that Winters plans not to vote for Obama again:

Tracy Kemmerling says her support for the President never wavered during this debate, but Michael Sean Winters says he no longer trusts this White House and plans not to vote in November.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Saturday, February 11, CBS Evening News:

ELAINE QUIJANO, IN OPENING TEASER: President Obama's policy on contraception proves to be a bitter pill for Catholic bishops, and for many of the faithful as well.

MICHAEL SEAN WINTERS, CATHOLIC DEMOCRAT: Don't be meddling in my church.

(...)

QUIJANO: Roman Catholic bishops say President Obama's revised policy on contraception coverage for employees, quote, "continues to involve needless government intrusion on the internal governance of religious institutions." Some among the Catholic rank and file agree, and that's tonight's "Weekend Journal," the issue that threatens to alienate a key block of the President's winning 2008 coalition.

MICHAEL SEAN WINTERS, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER: I'm a Catholic first and a Democrat second.

QUIJANO: Michael Sean Winters was among the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for President Obama in 2008, but he feels the White House badly mishandled the issue of contraception coverage. You're angry?

WINTERS: Yeah, I'm still very angry about this. I really think he has imperiled his own presidency, which I think has achieved great good for the country.

QUIJANO: Winters says the debate was about the government interfering with religious freedom, yet for others like Tracy Kemmerling, the real issue was about her right to health care.

TRACY KEMMERLING, NURSE: We don't practice any form of birth control right now, and hope for the best.

QUIJANO: Kemmerling is a nurse and mother of two. She's not Catholic. She would like to use birth control pills but doesn't. The Catholic hospital where she works does not offer health insurance coverage for birth control. Paying the $30 a month out of pocket is an expense she feels her family can't afford.

KEMMERLING: I feel like the choice has been taken away from me as a health care worker and as a woman. I should have that right.

QUIJANO: Kemmerling is relieved the cost of birth control will soon be picked up by an insurer, but Winters feels the White House overstepped its bounds with its initial policy decision which would have forced Catholic institutions to set aside moral objections to contraception.

WINTERS: I may disagree with my bishops profoundly, but they're my bishops. But when somebody who is not part of that family comes in and starts criticizing them, my, you know, back goes up, and I become a bit of a stiff-necked Catholic and say, "That's not your place."
QUIJANO: It's not the White House's place?

WINTERS: Absolutely, or any political leader. Don't be meddling in my church.

QUIJANO: Tracy Kemmerling says her support for the President never wavered during this debate, but Michael Sean Winters says he no longer trusts this White House and plans not to vote in November.