GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina is turning out to be the Democrats’ — and especially Hillary Clinton’s — worst nightmare. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO’s studious and polished answers at Wednesday’s CNN debate stand in sharp contrast to Clinton’s unwillingness until recently to answer reporters’ questions at all, much less debate her opponents for the Democratic nomination.
But Clinton’s life as a candidate became immeasurably harder Wednesday when the other contender for the title of First Woman President offered up a dare:
As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.
This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.
On Thursday, Clinton was a guest on CNN’s “Situation Room.” Host Wolf Blitzer played a clip of Fiorina’s dare, then asked Clinton whether she had “seen those very, very controversial videos.”
Here is a video clip of her answer. A transcript of the relevant passage follows.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Wolf, let’s break down what’s happening here, because I think it’s important. I know that there’s a move on by some of the Republicans in the Congress to actually shut down the United States government over their demand that we no longer give federal funding to Planned Parenthood to perform the really necessary health services that they do for millions of women. So let’s put aside for a moment here that there is no debate and there should be absolutely no argument that Planned Parenthood does cancer screenings, it helps provide family planning and contraceptive advice. It works to provide, you know, some of the most difficult kinds of counseling when it comes to giving an HIV test, for example. What this is about is the fact that some of the Planned Parenthood facilities perform abortions, which is legal under the laws of the United States. I understand that the Republican Party and particularly the candidates we heard from last night wish that were not the case, wish that abortion were illegal and they could turn the clock back. So I think we ought to be very clear that Planned Parenthood has served to provide health care, necessary health care, for millions of women. And I think it deserves not only our support but the continuing funding from the federal government so that these women and girls who are seeking the kinds of services that are provided will be able to achieve that.
This is more or less the same dodge tired Clinton has been using since the first undercover video was released by the Center for Medical Progress. Unfortunately, the argument — that Planned Parenthood serves a unique function as a central clearinghouse for women’s health issues — is specious. The bipartisan Government Accountability Office reported in March that there are some 1,200 community health centers in the U.S. serving over 21 million women annually. Planned Parenthood, by contrast, serves 2.7 million.