I wrote last week about a theory put forth by Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff that abortion proponents were shifting strategies to focus on contraceptives rather than abortion, the reason being their own polls show abortion is no longer a winning issue with young people and women, but contraception is.

This week Republican strategist Dick Morris pitched the same theory on Hannity, adding some corroboration:

Morris: Obama did not make a mistake in this mandate. It’s a deliberately calculated move on his part. The Democrats realize that abortion is no longer a winner for them. It used to be ten points more pro-choice than pro-Life, now it’s ten points more pro-Life than pro-choice possibly because of the publicity of the anti-abortion people, possibly because of the aging of the population. But the point is that it’s a loser issue.

So what they’re trying to do now is replace it with contraception. So the first piece of evidence was after Santorum won Iowa, the first controversy was, “Do you think states should have the right to ban contraception?” Where did that come from?

Morris: Then you remember that ABC debate with that paid Democratic hitman George Stephanopoulos went after Romney trying to… pin him down on, on contraception? And Romney kept saying, “George, nobody wants to make contraception.” “No, but do they have the theoretical power to do it?” Remember, it was five minutes, people were laughing at him, booing him. Well that…

Hannity: You think he was doing this under direct orders?

Morris: Under orders. And I think, and now he comes out with this thing on contraception. They want to create the idea, and it’s no coincidence, that he came out with it after Minnesota and Colorado which was Santorum’s victories. They want to create the impression that the Republicans will ban contraception, which is totally insane, but they’re floating it out and they’re bringing it out there. And this move on Obama’s part was part of injecting that issue.

On his February 14 show, Rush Limbaugh picked up on Morris’ theory:

Rush: I want to move on to this Dick Morris business and the attack on the Catholic Church last week by Obama.  I want to ask you, if you remember back in January there was a presidential debate, a Republican debate in Manchester.  Do you remember – ’cause this is a setup for what’s coming – do you remember, we were all perplexed here.  George Stephanopoulos kept hounding Romney on contraception.  It had not come up, nobody had said anything about it, and we were all confused, as was Romney, what the deal was.  Well, it is Dick Morris’ theorem that that was a setup that led to what happened last week….

That’s what Morris’ theory is about what happened last week, trying to get abortion off the table because it’s a loser for the Democrats.  And now instead of Republicans want to ban abortion, they want to ban contraception.  Well, let’s go back and listen to what Dick Morris is talking about here….

Rush moved to a new radio ad NARAL is running in Colorado, Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin, thanking President Obama for his contraceptive mandate. NARAL president Nancy Keenan appeared on MSNBC on February 14 promoting the ad and said this:

Keenan: [T]his is a win for women in this country and it’s a win for the president because it’s gonna draw the contrast between a president who stood with women and their access to contraception and birth control and those that oppose it and want to stand between a woman and her birth control.  So absolutely for 2012, this is a president who stood with women.

Back to Rush…

Rush: So, it appears Dick Morris is up to something.  It appears that he’s on to this.  Out of the blue, this has now become something all about contraception…. And what’s happened, really, is that the terms, the definition and the terms have changed.  We’re no longer talking about abortion.  All of a sudden now it’s Republicans who want to stamp out contraception, that’s what the attempt last week was all about….

So that’s the paradigm shift here, at least so goes the theory, and it does explain why Stephanopoulos was talking about something that was not even an issue.

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