Mitchell Reports | February 16, 2012
>>> and even as rick santorum surges in republican polls, there's a lot of talk about his views on women . from contraception to combat. listen to santorum during an interview last october with an evangelical blog, caffeinated thoughts.
>> one of the thingsly talk about that no president has talked about before is, i think, the dangers of contraception in this country. the whole sexual libertine idea. and many in the christian faith have said, that's okay, contraception's okay. it's not okay. it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to what -- how things are supposed to be.
>> "the washington post 's" ruth marcus joins me now. well, ruth , rick santorum and this whole issue, could this really persuade republican party leaders that he is not a viable backup for mitt romney ?
>> well, yes. if they look at some polls. and let's take some numbers. women are a majority of the electorate. there was a significant gender gap , and it was a big piece of barack obama 's victory in 2008 . there was a much narrower gender gap between the republican and democrat in 2004 . and if you look at romney and santorum right now, in the polls, they look like they're even, but underneath that evenness, it's -- there's a significant gender gap . both nationally and perhaps even more for our interests right now in michigan.
>> also today, the house republicans held a hearing on the whole health care contraception issue. women members walked out. congress members walked out of the hearing, because there were no women witnesses, and this is nancy pelosi today.
>> i think it's really curiouser and curiouser, that as we get further into this debate,rship of this congress thinks it's appropriate to have a hearing on a subject of women health and purposefully exclude women from the panel. what else do you need to know about the subject?
>> it is pretty remarkable, that they would have a hearing and not have any women on the panel. ruth ?
>> i think the technical term for that is dumb. hello, i'm sure that there are women that they could have found, and whoever put that hearing together probably needs a little bit of a talking to, perhaps by his wife. look, as we have seen over the last few weeks, contraception is is a very explosive, personal, deeply felt issue. people felt, i've felt that the president should have given a little bit more leeway to issues of religious conscience, but let's be clear. the overwhelming number of women use contraception and they use contraception and they don't think of it as a bad thing or something that enables them to do a bad thing.
>> but there is one piece of this, which is that the self-insured catholic organizations do have a problem, because they don't have a waiver, and they have no place to turn. they can't just go to the insurance company .
>> oh, sure. as a technical problem, the compromise, i think i called it a fig leaf in the newspaper, that the president worked out is not, from the catholic church 's point of view, an entirely unsatisfactory compromise. and i think there is a legitimate question, and the administration acknowledges it's a legitimate question about how the self-insured catholic institutions will handle this. and that's a little bit of can kicking. but it got them past this immediate hurdle. so now we can all focus on rick santorum and his women issue.
>> to be continued.
>> thank you, ruth . great to see you. thanks for coming.