CNN's Burnett to Kasich: Is Your Pro-Life Stance 'Worth Losing Over?'

As GOP presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich appeared as a guest on Thursday's Erin Burnett OutFront on CNN, host Burnett hit him from the left on his support for defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio and, alluding to his desire to win the votes of moderate Democrats and independents, pressed him on whether his conservative views on abortion would cause him to lose./p>

Burnett: "According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, though, 60 percent -- nearly 60 percent of independents support funding Planned Parenthood. Is your conservative stance on abortion -- which clearly is a personal and passionate one for you -- worth losing over?"

Not surprisingly, the CNN host ignored a Robert Morris University poll from December finding that, when it is explained that congressional Republicans would shift federal funding from Planned Parenthood to other health care providers that do not perform abortions, a majority of respondents, including many self-identified Democrats, support defunding Planned Parenthood.

The CNN host brought up the subject of abortion as she recalled that the Ohio governor soon plans to sign a bill ending state funding of Planned Parenthood in his state:

You know, one thing that might help you in that region and in South Carolina, of course, specifically, is your tough stance against abortion. Planned Parenthood, as we all know, is a lightning rod in this election. There's a bill on your desk right now to cut all funds to that group in Ohio. I know you've vowed you're going to sign it. When are you actually going to get up there to sign it?

After Kasich indicated that he plans to sign the bill this weekend, and stressed that the state would support women's health care performed by other providers, Burnett followed up with her suggestion that defunding Planned Parenthood could hurt his election chances:

Your record on abortion is consistent. You have enacted at least 16 anti-abortion measures since you became the governor. You've actually joked, though, of course, that you should be running as a Democrat -- and I know you were making a joke there -- but the point is a fair one, right? Moderates are crucial for you. Independents like you. A lot of moderate Democrats like you.

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, though, 60 percent -- nearly 60 percent of independents support funding Planned Parenthood. Is your conservative stance on abortion -- which clearly is a personal and passionate one for you -- worth losing over?

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, February 11, Erin Burnett OutFront on CNN:

7:10 p.m. ET
ERIN BURNETT: You talk about the Deep South and how you think you can win Mississippi. You've got the governor of Alabama endorsing you. You know, one thing that might help you in that region and in South Carolina, of course, specifically, is your tough stance against abortion. Planned Parenthood, as we all know, is a lightning rod in this election. There's a bill on your desk right now to cut all funds to that group in Ohio. I know you've vowed you're going to sign it. When are you actually going to get up there to sign it?

GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH (R-OH): I'll be signing it probably this weekend, and, but I want to make it clear to everybody, while we don't support Planned Parenthood, we do support a robust funding of women's health. We just can't operate through that organization anymore. They've lost credibility. But women's health is really critical. And we're going to make sure we have the places where women can go to get the treatment that they need the same way we have been working aggressively to try to overcome the problems we've had with infant mortality. And, you know, we believe in things like the early childhood education, which is really important. So, look, at the end of the day, I'm going to sign that bill, but we will make sure that people will have a -- where women have a place to go.

BURNETT: Your record on abortion is consistent. You have enacted at least 16 anti-abortion measures since you became the governor. You've actually joked, though, of course, that you should be running as a Democrat -- and I know you were making a joke there -- but the point is a fair one, right? Moderates are crucial for you. Independents like you. A lot of moderate Democrats like you. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, though, 60 percent -- nearly 60 percent of independents support funding Planned Parenthood. Is your conservative stance on abortion -- which clearly is a personal and passionate one for you -- worth losing over?

KASICH: Well, look, you know, I don't make a lot of speeches about this. I am pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother. And I'm going to sign the bill. And, I mean, so, you know, you can't sit around, put your finger in the air to figure out who's going to like everything you do. I hope that I have a message that's broader than that that can attract people, and [if] somebody doesn't agree with me, I respect them, but I've got to do what I have to do.

And, frankly, look, I don't even, the Deep South, they've got a lot of concerns, the same thing people have in New Hampshire and Minnesota and everywhere else. They're worried, you know, can their kid get a job and have a good life? Can they keep their job? Can wages go up? These are all the things that I've tackled them before, I can tackle them again. And what I can really do with these Democrats is I believe I can bring the blue-collar Democrats like Reagan did to the Republican Party because when the Democrats are spending their time talking about which one of them is a better socialist. I mean, are you kidding me? To blue-collar Democrats, that's repulsive to them. So I think we have an opportunity to be able to bring them in the party and win in the fall.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters