Breaking news! Liberal activist Sandra Fluke will be voting for President Obama! CNN thought this announcement not only worthy of a CNN.com op-ed, but hosted Fluke in person for an interview during the 9 a.m. hour of Newsroom on Thursday.
Fluke was welcomed on cable news after she was publicly defamed by Rush Limbaugh -- and was published on CNN.com -- and on Thursday CNN's Carol Costello hailed her as the "woman who became the face of the fight over whether insurance plans should cover contraceptives." So the religious organizations who were affected by the HHS birth control mandate were not also the faces of the debate?
As she began the interview, Costello had to tee Fluke up one more time about the Rush Limbauh controversy, playing the "slut" remark. "So, when you hear that stuff from Rush Limbaugh today, what goes through your mind?" she asked the liberal activist.
In her special to CNN.com that Costello twice mentioned, Fluke sounds the alarm about how "rights that generations of women fought so hard to achieve could be rolled back easily," and hits Romney for offering "only frightening promises to send us backward."
Costello did press her guest over the youth unemployment rate under Obama – before referring to her CNN.com article one more time. "But when you look at the unemployment figures for young people, they are pretty abysmal. Why should young people, the millennial generation, enthusiastically support this president?"
A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 14 on CNN Newsroom at 9:15 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
CAROL COSTELLO: So when you hear that stuff from Rush Limbaugh today, what goes through your mind?
SANDRA FLUKE, activist endorsing Obama: The same thing that went through my mind when I heard it earlier. Just that it's an attempt to silence women, to take them out of the conversation. But, you know, as you introduced, I'm here today to talk about the President and why I'm voting for him for re-election. And why his policies are so important to young women like me.
COSTELLO: You were a Georgetown student. Now you're a full-blown political activist. And, like you said, you wrote this op-ed for CNN.com. You endorsed the President. Do you think people will take your endorsement seriously?
FLUKE: Well, I think that they can take it for what it's worth. I have looked very closely at these policies. And I take very seriously anything that I take a position on. That's actually why I waited until now to endorse anyone in this presidential election. I felt that a lot of people were looking to me for my opinion, following these controversies. And I wanted to remain nonpartisan and to just specifically look at which policies I could support.
But I have just concluded that Governor Romney must not be looking for the vote of people like me because he's not taking a stand on issues that are really important to me. Issues like the Paycheck Fairness Act or, you know, so many other things that I'm concerned about.
COSTELLO: Well, by the same token, Mitt Romney's favorability rating among women is rising. And if he doesn't care about these things that you're talking about, why do you suppose that is?
FLUKE: I think that he's recently been selected as the Republican nominee. And there's inevitably a consolidation around a nominee when that occurs, and that's what we're seeing. That said, for months now we have seen the President having a considerable lead among women. And that's because they know that he is a strong leader for the policies that we care about. Policies like affordable access to education, in terms of student loan rates. And policies like the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Violence Against Women Act.
COSTELLO: But when you look at the unemployment figures for young people, they are pretty abysmal. Why should young people, the millennial generation, enthusiastically support this President?
FLUKE: Actually, I saw something on ABC recently that things are increasingly – that this is the best time for employment opportunities for young college graduates since this recession started. And I think that the difference between Governor Romney and President Obama is that both of them are very focused on improving the economy for all of us, but President Obama is focused on improving it for all of us, not just for a select, wealthy few, and he's focused on making sure that we have the rights and protections that we need in those jobs and in that workplace.
COSTELLO: I'm not sure that many college students who have just graduated would agree that the employment picture is looking any brighter.
FLUKE: The ones I have spoken to do, actually.
COSTELLO: Really, what do they say? Are they finding jobs? Because the college students that we talk with are having a difficult time.
FLUKE: Well, I have talked with lots of folks who I graduated with, in terms of law school graduates. This is the first year that things are looking up for them at increasing rates. And I am hearing that from graduates across the country.
COSTELLO: Although I must say graduating from Georgetown might have a certain bit of cache and maybe you can find a job easier because you went to such a great school. But students who went to public universities or community colleges, they are having a terrible time.
FLUKE: I have actually talked to students from across the country. So, I'm not just referring to Georgetown.
COSTELLO: Okay. Thank you so much –
FLUKE: But I think – what your point is, is how important the investment in education is for folks to be able to find employment when they graduate, and that's why the President's policies around student loans are so critical. He increased Pell Grants, our investment. He doubled that. And he is fighting to keep interest rates low. So for students who are going to any university or college, that's critical for them.
COSTELLO: Okay. So your op-ed appears on CNN.com.
FLUKE: It does.
COSTELLO: Okay. Thank you so much. Sandra Fluke joining us live this morning.
FLUKE: Thank you.