"Morning Joe" Draws Ire Of Senate Women

Democrats Boxer, Shaheen, Stabenow don’t like Scarborough’s take on contraception. But nobody went on this morning.

The Senate’s Democratic women are furious at “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski for their opposition to the Obama Administration’s contraception mandate, two sources told BuzzFeed.

California Senator Barbara Boxer and New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen both got in touch with MSNBC after the two hosts of the show that starts many politicos’ days were unanimous Monday in their criticism of the rule, which would require Catholic hospitals and other institutions to offer health care plans providing contraception to their employees.

“If the federal government can do this to the Catholic church, can they not do this to any church?” host Joe Scarborough asked. Brzezinski called the move an “overstep” and “wrong.” Guests, including conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, agreed with them.

“The women Senators are up in arms. They think the coverage is slanted, Mika is not doing enough to articulate their position, and they can’t get equal time,” a Democrat familiar with the situation told BuzzFeed.

Boxer and Shaheen, a source said, both asked “Morning Joe” to appear to rebut the hosts’ views; the show’s producers agreed, but said they would invite a Republican Senator on to take the other side. The two senators then cited scheduling problems, and suggested that Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal appear in their place; Morning Joe declined.

They’re not the only ones agitated: Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow voiced her complaints about the show in a lunch with donors in Washington, D.C. today, a source there said.

Spokespeople for the senators and for MSNBC declined to comment on the tiff, which is if nothing else a sign of the show’s centrality in the political conversation.

And the cable network did not exactly shut them out Thursday: Boxer appeared on The Daily Rundown, Shaheen spoke to Chris Jansing at 10, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke to Luke Russert in the 1:00 hour.

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