Kaine splits with Obama on birth control

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There're signals the White House may be willing to bend on a controversial mandate in the new health care reform law.

The backlash over the mandate that would require institutions run by the Catholic church to have their insurance plans cover contraception is growing.

Part of that chorus is from a prominent Virginian with close ties to President Obama.

Senate candidate Tim Kaine makes no secret of his deep religious convictions. He was the first Catholic to be elected governor of Virginia.

But despite his break from his faith on issues like abortion, he is sticking with the church on a debate that is causing grief to one of his closest political allies.

"I have definitely expressed my grave concerns to the White House," said Kaine.

In an interview with WRHV radio, Kaine said he supports the broad contraception mandate of the health care reform law, but believes the religious exemptions should be extended.

Kaine's comments rippled across the country, singled out as a high-profile supporter of the president breaking ranks on a key issue. He was one of several Democrats to encourage the White House to take a step back.

Meanwhile, the administration remains publicly committed to the mandate, but are reportedly considering their options.

Thursday, while meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, the president begged off questions on the topic, saying simply, "come on guys."

Republicans wasted no time sharing their skepticism of Kaine's break from Obama — reminding reporters of his whole-hearted embrace of the health care reform plan from the start.

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