The Morning Joe panel discussed the recent HHS ruling for a second day today, this time with Time's Mark Halperin and financier Steven Rattner.
The panel focused on how the ruling is energizing the GOP '12 candidates and then continued from there.
Part of the conversation is excerpted below. We'll post more in a bit.
Mark Halperin: The big factor is it gives energy to the Republican Party and the conservative movement. You see Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney all talking about this. Because they know it rallies people on their side. And that’s one of the things they’ve lacked. We’ve talked about the lower turnout in some of these early contests. If Romney can get religious conservatives inspired by his candidacy, that’s a big deal in terms of getting the base out in November if he’s the nominee.
Joe Scarborough: [The White House] has empowered Mitt Romney now. They’ve given him an opportunity to be a hero to the very social conservatives that probably wouldn’t have gotten out and campaigned for him.
Mika Brzezinski: The Peggy Noonan piece left some things out…As the governor of Connecticut [Dannel Malloy] yesterday pointed out there are 28 states that have these policies in place. Six states have the one the Obama administration is putting in place. And the thing that was really left out is that in this new order, there’s a one to two to three year grace period for religious institutions to work it out, to try and find a model in which it can be done…That’s really important information.
Scarborough: Let’s start with your second point first…it shows just how blind [the White House is] on this issue. To how they are stomping on people’s religious liberties and on their religious beliefs. Number two, here’s the deal, we’re going to ask you to go against 2,000 years of Catholic beliefs, but you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to give you a one-year grace period to work through it. So at the end of one year, you can then throw away your beliefs of 2,000 years. The number one issue, it is not relevant to me what 28 states do. What is relevant to me, as I’m judging President Obama’s performance and Kathleen Sebelius’ performance, is what is my federal government doing? My opinion, as far as federalism goes, states should be able to do what states want to do on whatever issues. It’s the federal government that impacts all of us; that’s the real concern...
The biggest problem is this it confirms conservatives' worst suspicion about Barack Obama -- that he wants to centralize power in Washington D.C., and that he'll walk on the right side of Catholics and other people of faith if he has to do it.
Watch the discussion below: