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Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 05/24/2012

Friars, Florida and Facebook – Obama under siege

It’s only Thursday, but it is not too early to declare that the president has had a lousy week. 

First, 43 different Catholic institutions have sued the Obama administration over the president’s demand that all religious organizations, under penalty of law, provide, pay for and/or facilitate access to services (including contraceptives and sterilization) that are contrary to their deeply held and constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.  

This is a major blow to whatever popular appeal was left in Obamacare and is another reason to vote against the president.  President Obama has fractured his relationship with Catholics.  If he started today to repair the damage, he still couldn’t undo all the harm done between now and Election Day.  This is serious, and it will spread beyond Catholics to other churches and fair-minded people.  Religious institutions in America are used to the government telling them what they can’t do.  Obama has broken new ground by telling Catholics what they must do, regardless of their religious tenets, or suffer fines and other sanctions imposed by the government.  This is a war of choice by Obama; it is the wrong fight at the wrong time with the wrong foe.

Much has been written about this, and there is much more to come.  Everyone following politics in 2012 should read Cardinal Wuerl’s op-ed, and Michael Gerson’s latest column

Next, a Quinnipiac poll out of Florida suggests that Obama is in real trouble in that state.  It’s not just that he trails Mitt Romney by six percentage points, 47 to 41, but to be an incumbent president and poll as low as 41 percent of the vote and have 50 percent negatives in a state that you carried in 2008 by more than 235,000 votes is more than a red light flashing in the cockpit.  There is smoke coming out of both engines, and if it stays this way much longer, Obama will have to bail out of Florida and concede its 29 electoral votes.  Florida is too big for a tentative campaign. You are either all in with many millions of dollars or you skip it.  It doesn’t appear that Obama will have enough money to campaign heavily in all of the states he won in 2008.  Florida is now in the “lean-Romney” category.

And last, there is the downer of the Facebook IPO.  Rather than a sign of American financial resurgence, it looks like an exploding cigar.  Obama is not to blame for what happened with the botched offering.  However, it affects the economic atmosphere in a way that reinforces how bad things are and how pessimistic voters are about the prospects of an economic revival.  Successful IPOs are great wealth-creators, but they have been particularly scarce during the Obama years. Maybe Obama thinks this is good. I've never heard him say otherwise. Has anyone else?  Nothing about the Facebook IPO boosts confidence in the environment in which Obama needs to try to build political momentum. And since bad gets worse, there are now reports that on top of the financial debacle, criminal, congressional and civil inquiries have begun that will linger in the headlines through the election.

  Obama appears to have a cloud over him right now. Romney has done a good job of mostly keeping quiet and sticking to the blocking and tackling of building a war chest and an organization, while Obama is bruised and battered by his own mistakes and blindsided by unexpected events. 

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 05/24/2012

 
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