You’d think the GOP’s ongoing, dogged push to allow any employer to deny female employees contraceptive coverage is an indication that Republicans take a strong stance on the issue.
But it’s not. On Tuesday afternoon, I asked Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) whether he could support a Republican presidential candidate who had required religious institutions to provide female employees with contraceptive coverage.
“I can’t imagine that being the only litmus test that I would want to put on a candidate,” he said.
The significance here is implicit. As Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney — arguably the GOP presidential primary frontrunner — signed off on the very same type of requirement that Republicans are attacking President Obama for pushing nation-wide. So while they’re trying to undo his regulation, they also know they can’t turn this into a black and white issue in the coming election. Because, of course, their own guy will have a hard time explaining away his own past views and actions.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.