Roundtable: Contraceptive Controversy

George Will, Liz Cheney, Donna Brazile, and David Ignatius.
12:37 | 02/12/12

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Transcript for Roundtable: Contraceptive Controversy
The -- to kind of create its own crisis on this whole issue over contraception. And what -- about the Catholic institutions should be forced to offer the coverage. Of contraception and finally the president announces compromise. On Friday where the institutions -- -- provide insurance companies -- we talk about it with Paul Ryan in Jack -- I think the big question a lot of people had supporters. The president. Why not come -- with a compromise in the first place what was this all about. Well you know judges not a compromise because he cannot compromise with the Catholic. Bishops on this issue for those of us who know. Catholicism and I'm a practicing Catholic. There's no there's zero tolerance. With regards to birth control there's no such thing as -- -- a compromise so the White House was trying to seek an accommodation. But the Catholic hospitals the Catholic Charities and of course with women's groups the jesuit colleges and universities and and they got off to mock. And they can't -- I don't. Well you know I didn't -- my theories that there's an inner circle and as the loop and the other -- that didn't sit in a circle -- may be. That's one reason why -- -- understand that. A chronic -- doing that Catholic doctrine goes back to Genesis 32 you know I hit the books thrown -- me when -- -- a little girl. Zero -- there's only one thing. Since. Yes sexist war appropriation. And that recreation on -- I hit -- my mother she's deceased he'll tell me that I'm 52. Please -- you have a zero tolerance. -- had vice president Joseph Biden bill -- Catholics all saying you've got to find a way. To fixes don't buy yourself this -- Mr. President -- up three points. As Paul -- that this is an accounting gimmick that they've done that in no way comes the complicity. Of Catholic institutions and individuals. In. Delivering services they consider morally important second -- the question how did this come about George. This is what liberalism looks like this is what the progress of state does it tries to break all the institutions of civil society. All the institutions that mediate between the individual and state they have to break break them to the -- of the State's third. Catholic bishops who serves -- -- right. They're the ones who really hot for Obama care. With a few exceptions but they were all in favor of this this is what looks like the government decides it's gonna make your health care choices for. I think the bishops are making a mistake and doubling down. And and basically -- not only Catholic institution but they want to ensure that no one provides contraceptive. That it's it's gotta -- it. It's -- is reviled in the cultural want that -- Republicans -- the wall women's health which of course the Democrats -- to talk about because I think Democrats are quite frustrated that we have not. Talked about the assault on women's health. And I want to bring -- naturalist -- -- is their risk of overreached you heard Paul Ryan congressman Paul -- that there are they have the votes to block this. -- with the legislation they could effectively block contraception coverage overall provision of that. Will that put the Republican Party on the wrong side it would. Is probably 90% range I don't see that George -- -- -- put up with nobody is talking about preventing women from getting contraception. It's the opposite here I think there -- two things here that people are gonna remember one is that for political expedience the president was -- to look away from the First Amendment that that the whole issue of freedom of religion. Was less important -- this White House and then. Placating their base on this issue secondly is is a point that you brought up with Jacqueline which is the economics of this for the president to stand at the podium in the White House and essentially announced. Free birth control for all. That somehow you know nobody's gonna pay for this the insurance companies -- gonna -- -- you know does he think that. The companies that produced -- than the pillars and -- -- -- donate their services and I mean this is a problem that gets up. Our coalition doesn't seem to be an answer on that he saw the insurance companies -- quite tepid. There's they're wondering if they -- still in the White House argues that this is a net cost producer. Over time more avoiding pregnancy. One when women choose to do that is is. Less costly and insurance companies and society. All of the services solutions that person I was struck -- campus. Yes -- the White House parliament the state and national policy but the ability to do would tool for quickly. To -- and you can make a mistake which really got a problem office when you. You can tone deaf you don't listen of criticism and make changes. And they did make changes in this now policy that you can defend you say we understand the objections. Of of Catholics that they should shouldn't be forced to operate as early as tomorrow many states allow for an -- -- I think don't think the White House was tone deaf. You know mrs. -- it's just about. You know pregnancy and birth control issues to prevent many. -- endometriosis. Ovarian cancer so. I think the White House a look at this overall as a health issue that as a political issue. By making the accommodation they did which is not a company. As they guarantee that this has legs and I think it will be overturned by votes in both houses -- turned to foreign policy we saw also that violence in Syria. This week hundreds now have died in the fighting between -- forces and those anti government forces right there we've seen. Some of that -- patients were in the face of all this. You see the White House edging. Towards a new policy although there resolution they were supporting the UN was vetoed. By Russia and -- now some calls in the senate. Senator John McCain leading the charge that the what I should be open actually arming the militias provided support to overturn some. The white -- feels and -- -- my own feeling somebody's travel this part of the world a lot of the last thirty years is that it's right to be. Wary of further -- in this. We have almost 6000 -- who died this horrific violence. But Syria is a place where the scale of slaughtering. Bloodletting the degree of ethnic violence that could take place really be something would be on the level of the Lebanese civil war which I remembered the normal level of focus on Iraq in 2005 and 2000 sex. So I think at the White House has been telling the opposition. You're -- -- be -- -- if you go this route -- facing -- 300000 person army with the most advanced weapons. That's not the way you're gonna you're gonna win this one and I I think that they're still looking. Four way -- shame Russia. Back into a process. That would that would that would -- pregnancies -- -- visited the United Nations Liz. Now I mean look the White House has really tried very hard to act as though they've reset policy with Russia the fact that the Russians are willing to stand by and let. -- -- conduct the slaughter. And the UN resolution -- didn't call for him to step down basically just said please stop let's come to some agreement on this. I think that -- had a situation where you can't say when this kind of -- going on. That the problem will be if you arm the opposition people innocent people are dying by the hour in Syria and I think that John McCain had it right this week when he said that we -- look into arming the opposition I think frankly we got to recognize. Opposition government is a prosecute and succeed -- to pick up on David's point. Yes I think frankly Iran is what makes this so important serious connection to Iran on the fact that Syria is Iran's foothold in the Arab world it is the place that Iran funnels. Weapons and supplies to Hamas and has the lot it's clearly in our national interest for Bashar Assad to be gone. It's clearly our national interest that a new government that is not so closely affiliated with Iran come to the four and I think it's shameful that we're standing by watching the slaughter them. From Spain -- 1930s next Libya 2011. There's an itch to get involved and other people's civil war's first the -- today this has nothing. -- -- -- -- Compared to killing 20000 people in 1980 his father just -- Hamas -- this is something of a certain tradition. It's not something that's a sudden surprise to us. If you enjoyed the engagement in Iraq just get engaged sooner you got -- an -- that she is -- got the courage you can do the whole thing over again. And beware of mission creep. We started in Libya. -- no fly zone. To prevent -- humanitarian disaster and Ben -- instantly. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Right arm in the -- position has not -- to being cheap. It could prolong the stalemate more lead to more violence. I think the administration is trying to use everything in a diplomatic tool box but you know -- David mentioned Russia. Which is -- -- -- which provides arms to Syria and of course the rush is also concerned about those ports so this is a huge huge agenda item for me. -- -- -- the connection to -- want to bring that to -- nation because you made some news last week in your column when he talked about it Defense Secretary Panetta as worries that Israel was prepared to attack. Iran this year cause a lot of uproar across the Arab world across Washington. As well. At this point there does seem to be. Behind the scenes constant behind the scenes debate between the administration and the Israeli government over how effective sanctions are how much time -- really. I think there is that the issue of time is is the crucial one reason that. Secretary Panetta and others in the administration -- -- that Israel may -- soon. Is -- as an -- they see what the of vulnerability ending -- -- of immunity for wrong. Beginning as Ron and can continue enriching. And and put a bomb together and they they think that -- Israel rather than rely on US assurances that will take care of us. Wedding guests of the actual bomb making -- may decide to go. Before this the son of -- begins -- but that's whether there's anybody that the big issue I was hearing this last week was about. The revival of some kind of diplomatic negotiations. Turkish foreign minister was in town on Friday and that -- and some other journalists and he's talking about a resumption of a process that. Badly misfired. In 2009 -- and seemed to promise known and -- But that's back in the in in the works at the White House's view is. You know interest and then negotiated settlement -- we don't think an Israeli attack. Is wise but we want to make sure the negotiations are not simply stalling. And -- it's so hard to see you how and what exactly is happening inside Iran that we saw yesterday. Press -- Ahmadinejad announcing that it can have some major announcement on the nuclear program. This week some observers saw that as a -- -- a to negotiations. Well I think that we've seen -- very -- history from the -- they love to get the west involved in negotiations is a stalling tactic we've now had at least four rounds of sanctions I think we have. Very clearly exhausted many of our options with respect to time. The bottom line here is that nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapon in the hands of the world's worst sponsor of terror one of them is something we can't stand for. And the truth is that the best way to ensure we don't have to take military action is if -- -- believe we will if you -- understanding have no alternative. And right now what we're seeing is that the president is -- -- he's disengaging we've pulled all of our troops out of Iraq we're going to pull. Additional troops out of Afghanistan I would predict we -- in the areas around the streets that's right -- all of the messages that we're sending to the region is that we're pulling out and in fact the new defense strategy has its turning towards Asia. Which is exactly the wrong approach at a time when you want -- audience to understand we will take military action we have to. -- with regard to around the president's policy as with regard so many other things was to blame his predecessors -- it was the end Havoc with diplomacy on the part of George W. Bush. -- now he's tried three years of diplomacy and got nothing from it. So of that tool is out there toolbox. The president has not abandoned his -- the president has not signaled that. That in any way. He is not that he's unconcerned about -- -- The year -- going to stop important reading all which will hurt -- economy. I think the administration is hoping that they can get more support from China on this one here. I still believe that did the biggest threat right now is due to try to ensure that Arab allies it's. -- let us in hand with Israel on this now after his last word today thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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