In the weeks leading up to the announcement of the HHS mandate I remember speaking to a few folks who said they thought Obama would just bury the issue until after the election.

They said that everything has to do with the election and there’s no way Obama’s going to pick this fight with the Church in an election year. But, of course, Obama didn’t bury the issue. Obama has picked a fight with Catholics over the contraceptive mandate. Make no mistake, Obama has picked this fight. Why? Because he thinks he can win it.

The Daily Caller report from today shows that after a few weeks of seeming a bit flatfooted in response to the bishops and the Catholic college lawsuit from Belmont Abbey, the Democrat talking heads have promulgated their talking points and the spin has begun.

President Barack Obama’s deputies and his progressive allies are trying to convert the damaging controversy over federal regulation of religious groups into an advantageous fight against Catholic bishops over access to contraception.

The portrayal, if successful, could boost support among younger women, while reducing unexpected losses among religious voters in critical swing-states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“The idea that an employer — a Catholic bishop — can say you’re not going to get access to insurance coverage … that’s downright creepy,” said Jon O’Brien, president of an abortion-choice advocacy group, Catholics for Choice. “American women get really mad when people start messing with their contraception,” he told The Daily Caller.

“Let’s remember who this controversy is really about — the women of America,” said a Feb. 8 op-ed by three Democratic senators. “Too many women struggle to pay for birth control… Improving access to birth control is good health policy and good economic policy,” said the op-ed, by Sens. Barbara Boxer, Jeanne Shaheen and Patty Murray. “The millions of American women who choose to use contraception should not be forced to follow religious doctrine, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.”

Look, the last thing that Obama wants this election to be about is the economy. Now, a fight about contraception might just be a different story.

Obama and his thuggerati will continue to push the meme that this is just about providing preventative care to women while the mean ol’ bishops (who are all male and secretly hate women), are denying women medicine.

Obama wants this to be pro-contraception Obama vs. the anti-contraception bishops. He thinks that’s a fight he can win. It’s the fight he picked. Now, it’s just up to Catholics to decide how hard we fight back.

It’s a race to frame the issue in the hearts and minds of Americans. In the end, to Americans will this issue be about contraception or is it about religious liberty? I think the answer to that question may decide this election.