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Contra-Obama on contraception, Bill Nelson's runaway from the president becoming pattern

Sen. Bill Nelson told our Tampa Bay Times colleague Alex Leary that he disapproves of President Obama's controversial new rule concerning contraception offered by insurance plans of religious institutions. He said he called three White House officials to register his disapproval.

"My position is that church affiliated organizations should be exempt, not just churches," Nelson said.

Note: This doesn't mean Nelson opposes contraception. He probably just wants an exemption that would allow religiously run institutions that provide insurance to have the right not to offer contraceptive coverage.

Call this strike three in the Nelson-Obama relationship.

This summer, Nelson said the president has made some "mistakes," though he wouldn't elaborate on them. Nelson has said he opposed the way the administration handled NASA and the reaction to the Gulf oil-spill. Then, last month, Nelson was nowhere to be found next to Obama when the president paid a visit to Orlando. Now comes this.

Obama has a fundraiser in Coral Gables-Pinecrest at the end of the month. If the trend is any indication, Nelson probably won't be there.

Will it make a difference? Republican Senate frontruner Connie Mack is stumping the state and says with mantra-like efficiency that Nelson is a "lockstep liberal" because he has voted with the president about 98 percent of the time. So there's that.