NBC's Gregory: GOP Shouldn't Question 'Settled Matter' of Birth Control; Limbaugh Comments 'Gift' to Dems

Appearing on Saturday's NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press host David Gregory argued that the issue of contraception was a loser for the GOP: "I think there are a lot of Republicans who are worried that this is...a fight that the Republicans probably should not be having right now, over contraception of all things, which is pretty much a settled matter in terms of access for women..."

In addition, Gregory hit Rush Limbaugh for taking the debate over the ObamaCare contraception mandate to "a much more offensive level," and argued: "...he escalated it to a degree, there's a lot of female voters who are energized on the Democratic side of all this."

Pushing that same theme on Sunday's NBC Today, Gregory announced that Limbaugh, "was feeling the heat of the fact that this was something of a gift to the Democrats, who are already making the case that Republicans are overreaching on social issues."  

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory proclaimed that Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney had missed a "Sister Souljah Moment" to denounce to Limbaugh.

Here is a portion of Gregory's March 3 Nightly News comments:

6:40PM ET

LESTER HOLT: We want to turn now to some of the days other news. Beginning with late word of an apology from Rush Limbaugh to the Georgetown law student caught up in the middle of that birth control battle in Washington. Limbaugh's disparaging remarks about Sandra Fluke landed him in the middle of a firestorm, leading several of his advertisers to pull their ads from his show. Part of the statement posted on Limbaugh's website tonight reads: "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."

Also tonight, voters are having their say in the Washington caucuses and the candidates are campaigning in Ohio just 72 hours from Super Tuesday, when 11 states will be up for grabs. For the latest on all this, we want to bring in Meet the Press moderator David Gregory. David, let me first get your thoughts on the Limbaugh apology. Was it beginning to affect the Republican race in some way?

DAVID GREGORY: I don't think the Republicans are happy to have this fight when it came to Rush Limbaugh's comments. I think there's a lot of conservatives, whether it's Rick Santorum or Gingrich or others, although Romney has hedged on this, who are happy to energize this debate by talk of religious freedom being infringed upon by President Obama. That's their argument, that's their view, and it seems to be resonating among some voters.

But what Limbaugh did in going after this young law student without a basis of fact, in terms of what her testimony was, was to take it to a much more offensive level, which is why, I think, he sort of apologized, if you read the statement. And I think there are a lot of Republicans who are worried that this is A, a fight that the Republicans probably should not be having right now, over contraception of all things, which is pretty much a settled matter in terms of access for women, not only as birth control, but as a matter of women's health. But because he escalated it to a degree, there's a lot of female voters who are energized on the Democratic side of all this.

(...)

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