NBC Brings On Left-Wing Host to Slam 'Far-Right' Objections to Obama Birth Control Mandate

After finally deciding to actually cover the controversy swirling around the Obama administration's attempt to force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control in health insurance plans, NBC's Today on Tuesday brought on leftist MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to dismiss all legitimate opposition to the move as a "pretty far-right perspective" and "an extension of anti-abortion politics." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

While co-host Matt Lauer began by wondering if President Obama had "miscalculated on the issue," he quickly seized on Maddow's supposed "logic" on the topic: "...you hear people saying President Obama could suffer because of this in the election, and yet, you use your logic there, if the majority of women in this country say that they use birth control, could this backfire on the Republican candidates who are now making it the issue?"

Maddow fretted that "millions" of women would have to pay for contraceptives "out-of-pocket" if the government did not force religious institutions to pay for the them. She then contemptuously ranted: "All of the Republican candidates...have supported legislation that could make birth control illegal, this personhood stuff."

In his final question on the issue, Lauer asked if the whole controversy would just "fizzle out." Not only did Maddow agree with such wishful thinking, but she followed with a bizarre nonsensical analogy:

Listen, if there's a bus driver opening and you're Amish, nobody's going to say you can't apply for that because you're Amish. But if you get the job and say, "Actually, I can't drive this bus, I'm Amish." People are going to say, if it's a bus driving gig, you've got to be able to drive. And if it's health insurance, it includes contraception, it's part of health care in the 21st century.

Lauer didn't bother to bring on an opponent of the administration's policy to debate Maddow.

It was not the first time NBC brought on Maddow to discuss the issue, on Sunday's Meet the Press she denounced the GOP for "waging war on contraception."


Here is a transcript of the Lauer's February 7 exchange with Maddow:

7:13AM ET

MATT LAUER: Rachel Maddow is the host of the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. Rachel, good morning, good to have you here.    

RACHEL MADDOW: Hey, Matt. Thanks.

LAUER: Back in 2008, 27% of the people who voted identified themselves as Catholic. President Obama won in that group 54 to 45%. Has he miscalculated on the issue?

MADDOW: You know, I don't think so. I've heard a lot of people say that and I don't read it that way. I see this as large – part of a larger issue on contraception. And right now, all of the Republican candidates have taken pretty far-right perspective – perspectives on contraception, I think seeing it as an extension of anti-abortion politics. Not only do a vast majority of Catholics use birth control, but 80% of Americans think that most health insurance – all health insurance plans should be required to cover it.

LAUER: So, when you look and you hear people saying President Obama could suffer because of this in the election, and yet, you use your logic there, if the majority of women in this country say that they use birth control, could this backfire on the Republican candidates who are now making it the issue?

MADDOW: This kind of decision could mean hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American women can't get health insurance coverage for contraception. Mitt Romney further wants to eliminate all federal family planning support. So, that means that women are going to have to pay for birth control out-of-pocket under the Republicans' plans right now. And all of the Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney, have supported legislation that could make birth control illegal, this personhood stuff.

LAUER: So, is there traction to this? Is this an issue that's going to last well into the election or the campaign or is this going to be something that's going to fizzle out?

MADDOW: I think this is going to – I think this is going to fizzle out. Listen, if there's a bus driver opening and you're Amish, nobody's going to say you can't apply for that because you're Amish. But if you get the job and say, "Actually, I can't drive this bus, I'm Amish." People are going to say, if it's a bus driving gig, you've got to be able to drive. And if it's health insurance, it includes contraception, it's part of health care in the 21st century.      

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC