Birth-control fight divides White House

SHARE Birth-control fight divides White House

President Barack Obama discusses the continuing budget talks, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, in the the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Venus vs. Mars …

It came down to a Mars vs. Venus debate in the West Wing.

â—†Translation: SNEED HAS LEARNED internal debates at the White House before President Barack Obama’s decision requiring religious organizations to include contraceptive health insurance plans became divided along male/female lines.

â—†To wit: “It was pretty straight forward,” said a top Sneed source close to the controversy sizzling on the White House kitchen cabinet burners.

â—†“It came down to the men versus the women,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. “The male argument dealt with the importance of religious freedom. The women’s argument dealt with not wanting an exception made for religious organizations when it came to contraceptives.”

â—†Mars memo: Sneed is told “the men” urging President Obama not to intrude on religious freedom included Vice President Joe Biden (a Catholic), White House chief of staff Bill Daley (a Catholic) and deputy national security advisor Denis McDonough (a Catholic) – who urged President Obama to be cautious because religious freedom was the real issue at stake. It could also cost them at the voting booth.

â—†Venus verdict: The women stressing the contraceptive side of the argument included White House best buddy/strategist Valerie Jarrett, Deputy White House chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is Catholic – as well as former Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, the source said.

â—†Behind the scenes: Sneed hears First Lady Michelle Obama is being advised to stay out of this debate.

Stay tuned.

Pew News …

Word is Cardinal Francis George is planning to whip out his crozier and give it a few swings in response to President Obama’s health initiative involving major Catholic hospitals in Chicago.

I think it’s called war.

Cut ’em …

Beyonce, not Pinto! Sneed noticed Chicago fashion maven Maria Pinto, whose beautiful gowns were worn by first lady Michelle Obama during the 2008 Democratic convention, is NOT on the list of designers lending their skills to Obama campaign totes and tees.

â—†Howcum? “I don’t know why I wasn’t contacted,” said Pinto. “The concept is cool and I’m here to support the President. It would be nice, yeah…and maybe there’s still an opportunity.”

How soon they forget their roots.

Insert foot …

Quoth former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is known for his philandering:

“I have nothing against homosexuals, let it be clear. Quite the contrary. I always thought the more gay people around, the less competition.”

Being frank …

It’s set: Outspoken Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Barney Frank announced he set a date to marry his partner, Jim Ready, in July. Frank will be the first member of Congress to be part of a legal gay wedding.

Top cop shop …

Sneed hears Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has ordered an investigation into a report 10 police officers were reportedly on a committee which vetted the city’s controversial new vehicle sticker, which has now been nixed due to “unintentional” gang art.

â—†Buckshot: “There is no doubt the sticker incorporates gang art,” said a top source. “Why police officers would give it approval is what McCarthy wants to know – if, in fact, that is what happened.”

Mama Mia …

â—†Madonna abandoned a plan to wear $1 million earrings – which formerly belonged to Elizabeth Taylor – during her Super Bowl halftime performance because they were too heavy to wear while dancing, according to the New York Post.

The flip side …

Dateline: L.A. timing: In the wake of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday that the law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, the L.A. Times noted Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, a female couple who fought for marriage equality and wed three years ago in L.A. – have just filed for divorce.

â—†Translation: “We have a right to civil rights, and we don’t have to say, ‘If you give it to us we’re going to be perfect … we’ll try harder than anybody,’ “ Tyler stated. “We’re just like anybody else.”

Cruise Control …

It should probably come as no surprise, but the hit song from the film “Titanic”: “My Heart Will Go On,” was reportedly playing in one of the restaurants of the ill-fated Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia when it began to sink.

Sneedlings …

I spy: Blackhawk Patrick Kane at Chicago Cut steakhouse recently…Fiagaro! Figaro! Coco Pazzo’s 20th Anniversary Gala benefitting the Lyric Opera last week included Lyric CEO Kenneth Pigott and wife, Jane…Today’s birthdays: Nick Nolte, 72; Ted Koppel, 73, and Terry Durkin, ageless, and a special shout out to irreplaceable North Shore stellar Georgene “George” Campion, 79, who was feted by friends at Pinstripes in Northbrook Wednesday.

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