Nightly News | February 10, 2012
>>> good evening. the obama white house today tried to recover from a fumble. they veered into an area that had all the makings of a political firestorm in an election year. they were accused of waging war on religion, needlessly meddling in birth control . that's what some of their friends were saying. this started on january 20th , when the administration announced religious institutions would be required to offer free birth control to employees as a benefit of health care . the white house tried to end this today. we begin tonight with white house correspondent kristen welker. kristen , good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. this was a political stumble of the obama administration's own making. every day the headlines kept getting worse, and today the president himself tried to stop the bleeding. under fire from catholic bishops, republicans and some members of his own party, president obama today back tracked on his contraception mandate.
>> after the many genuine concerns raised over the past few weeks as well as, frankly, the cynical desire to make this into a political football . it claim clear spending months hammering out a solution was not going to be an option.
>> reporter: three weeks ago they announced all religion lewisly institutions would have to cover contraception at no cost to their employees. today an about-face.
>> religious organizations won't have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly.
>> reporter: instead, the insurance companies providing coverage for those groups will be required to reach out to women directly and offer contraception coverage without charge. administration officials maintain the insurance companies will ultimately save money through preventive care . some republicans say the president missed the point.
>> this is not about cost. it's about faith principles those institutions hold dear.
>> reporter: arch bishop timothy dolan one of the president's most outspoken critics this past week.
>> that is a foul ball by any standard.
>> reporter: released a statement that read, "today's decision to vides obtain services are morally objectionable to religious entities and people of faith is the first step in the right direction." supporters say it's case closed.
>> i feel it was a total reaffirmation of his belief all women, regardless of where they work, deserve access to birth control without any deductible or any expensive co-pays.
>> reporter: many catholic women were also cheering the news.
>> it resolves the issue, it gives women the right to, the ability to get the contraception they need and gives the churches the ability to continue with their strong beliefs.
>> reporter: republican candidates have been hammering the president on this issue for days, including today at a conservative conference here in d.c. now the obama campaign is preparing to deal with this issue all what it to november.
>> kristen welker starting us off from the white house . as