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Biden Says First Version of Contraception Mandate "Got Screwed Up"

While the administration's new health care rules regarding contraception coverage got battered around and debated on Capitol Hill, Vice President Joe Biden weighed in on how he says the White House handled the issue at the outset.

"What is happening now is that we have been able to provide what was hard to set up - it got screwed up in the first iteration - is that any hospital, no matter where it is, no matter who runs it, profit or non profit, religious based or otherwise, has to provide insurance to their employees like everybody else does," the vice president, a Catholic, said at an Iowa State University economic event.

Mr. Biden seemed to be stating what the administration had all but previously admitted when it altered its initial proposal to mandate contraception coverage, without providing exemptions for certain religious institutions.

Since then, the mandate has become more palatable to some. Still, conservatives remain furious over rules they perceive as an attack on religion, while Democrats are calling this a debate over women's health and the descent down a slippery slope.

A Republican bill designed to exempt health care providers and employers with moral objections to the mandatory contraception coverage failed in Senate Thursday, but the issue is likely remain a hot campaign talking point.