Chuck Todd on Thursday hectored the Republican Party for moving "decidedly to the right" on abortion and daring to take up legislation instead of focusing on immigration and jobs. Talking to other liberal journalists on his Daily Rundown program, Todd lectured, "But, it does strike me as the Republican Party has forgotten how to talk about abortion."
The MSNBC journalist, referring to comments made by Republican Trent Franks and recent GOP legislation in the states, added, "But the Republican Party has moved decidedly to the right on the issue of abortion, the lawmakers." Decidedly to the right? The Republican Party platform on abortion has been explicitly pro-life since 1980.
Regarding pro-life legislation supported by Congressman Franks, an incredulous Todd complained, "...This is a bill that will go to the House floor and the House is going to pass. Are they passing job bills?...They can't get an immigration bill out of the House and they're doing this?"
The cable anchor concluded that the problem is the GOP can no longer "side step" beliefs on abortion.
However, liberal journalists have allowed Democrats to avoid difficult questions about abortion. During the segment, Todd made no mention of Kermit Gosnell. Journalists helpfully ignored the abortionist's grisly trial.
Planned Parenthood is a big supporter of the Democratic Party. President Obama in April said "God bless" the organization. Yet, in March, a Florida Planned Parenthood lobbyist argued for the right to post-birth abortion. Has Todd worried about how this might reflect on Democrats?
A partial transcript of the June 13 segment is below:
REP TRENT FRANKS: Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle tried to make rape and incest a subject, because, you know, the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low, but when you make that exception, there's usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours.
CHUCK TODD: Trent Franks, not Todd Akin. Some Democrats quickly wanted to hope they found this moment, this Youtube moment, that they were going to be able to turn him into Todd Akin. But, it does strike me as the Republican Party has forgotten how to talk about abortion.
ANNE KORNBLUT (Washington Post): Well, I think as you said, any time you hear the words rape and pregnancy and abortion on the House floor, Democrats are going to pounce on it.
TODD: Committee room. But that's all right. House floor, too, not good either.
KORNBLUT: I'm sorry, committee room. Out of the mouth of any lawmaker, I think it's going to become a topic. I don't know getting down into the details of it benefits anyone. And, so, I think yeah, I think the Republican Party hasn't learned to talk about it. I think probably talking about abortion– the specifics of rape and incest and abortion are never helpful to them.
TODD: You know, what's interesting here is the public's views on abortion, you know, really moves, David, very little. You know, there's always some shift every now and then, three points here, one way or another, as far as do you classify the country as more pro choice or more pro-life. Really depends how you define the answer. But the Republican Party has moved decidedly to the right on the issue of abortion, the lawmakers.
DAVID CHALIAN: No doubt about it. I think the last five Republican presidential nominees have not been in line with the platform, right? They have allowed for this exception of rape, incest, life of the mother, right?
TODD: The exception, not having the exception, is now mainstream in the Republican Party.
CHALIAN: Well, right. So they have moved right in that way. Because now so many of the groups demand of the candidates that they not support the exceptions. Yet, that's not where the presidential nominees have been for the last five, six nominees.
TODD: No and I think this is the disconnect between the party's, sort of, brand image problem, particularly with women voters. Presidential nominees know this and they were trying to find separation.
VIVIANA HURTADO (Wise Latina Club): Absolutely. And I think one of the interesting things, of course, whether it's this or whether it's, for example, outreach to younger communities, women and minority voters is that it's a messaging issue. But, you know, just yesterday the governor of Wisconsin went on record saying he would, in fact, consider having some kind of mandatory ultrasound for women before they are able to seek an abortion. And, you know, that certainly dove tails with what happened last year with Governor McConnell [sic] here in Virginia. So, it's not just about messaging. It's about substance. And any way you look at it, in fact, if you quantify it, it's 30,000 incidents of rape per year according to reports. It's just not good for the Republican Party.
TODD [On the Trent Franks remarks]: But the fact this is part of the agenda, David. Right? Right now that this is a bill that will go to the House floor and the House is going to pass. Are they passing job bills? Are they passing-- They can't get an immigration bill out of the House and they're doing this?
HURTADO: And you remember the same thing happened with Todd Akin. It wasn't percieved as something that was supposed to be as only something in Republican circles whisper amongst themselves and then all of a sudden, it blew up. Same thing with this. Not good.
TODD: I think it does get to this larger issue that Republicans, who used to be so good about talking about life, being very careful, side stepping some of these things, there's no side stepping anymore.