It appears that Obama does have some political savvy to him after all.
Consider the contraception issue that's got the Catholics all riled up.
After two solid weeks of Republicans rapidly escalating attacks on contraception access under the banner of "religous freedom," Obama finally announced what the White House is proposing an accomodation of religiously affiliated employers who don't want to offer birth control coverage as part of their insurance plans. In those situations, the insurance companies will have to reach out directly to employees and offer contraception coverage for free, without going through the employer.
Did you catch that? The insurance companies themselves are going to offer contraception options. It will no longer be on the "conscience" of the good Catholics who want to use sex solely as a means of procreation. Don't talk to them about the cognitive dissonance of 98% of Catholics using one form of contraception or another. They're too busy reconciling restriction of reproductive rights with their morality and religious liberty to worry about that right now.
Here's the funny part, though. Obama has let Republicans work themselves into a frenzy of anti-contraception rhetoric, all thinly disguised as concern for religious liberty, and then created a compromise that addressed their purported concerns but without actually reducing women's access to contraception.
With the fig leaf of religious liberty removed, Republicans are in a bad situation. They can either drop this and slink away knowing they've been punked, or they can double down. But in order to do so, they'll have to be more blatantly anti-contraception, a politically toxic move in a country where 99% of women have used contraception. I get the feeling that some GOP candidates are going to end up alienating a good half of the population, an entire gender, and a significant voting block doubling down on this stance.
This is a pretty big win for Obama. Romney was provoked repeatedly to go on the record saying negative things about contraception in the frame of concern about "religious liberty" while Obama hijacked the news cycle for two weeks to send the message to the young female voters that he's going to get them their contraception for free. I fully expect to see some ads in the fall showing Romney saying hostile things about contraception and health care reform, with the message that free birth control is going away if he's elected.
Lastly, Here is the reason why Catholic anger to Obama's birth control policy is misplaced. Because 28 states (including Romney's Mass) already have such laws on the books.
Not to mention the fact that it's discriminatory. From the article: "And make no mistake: health plans that exclude services used only by women constitute a form of discrimination. That’s why in 2000, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that employers that cover prescription drugs but do not cover contraception are in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Such employers have “circumscribed the treatment options available to women, but not to men,” it said. The EEOC’s ruling made no exemptions for religiously affiliated organizations. Indeed, in 2009, responding to a lawsuit, the EEOC ruled that the Catholic college Belmont Abbey discriminated against women when it refused to cover birth control."
So he's even got plausible deniability covered. He's just upholding the law.