PLANNED PARENTHOOD PROVOKES DEMOCRATIC DEFENSIVENESS:
Mollie Hemingway: 10 important developments in the Planned Parenthood scandal. http://vlt.tc/2148 “A few days ago, the Daily Dot reported a hack of Planned Parenthood data, and the news was carried far and wide. It appears to just be a listing of 333 email addresses of Planned Parenthood employees as well as their usernames. Yesterday, Planned Parenthood and SKDKnickerbocker managing director Hilary Rosen began tweeting about an alleged attack on Planned Parenthood’s web site. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards released an op-ed in the Washington Post about Planned Parenthood generally being under attack a few hours later.
“The only problem was that the “attack” wasn’t observed by anyone other than Planned Parenthood officials and their public relations/crisis communications firm SKDKnickerbocker. Further, they were unable to provide any substantiation to their claim that the “attack” came from “anti-abortion extremists,” if it even existed. And then they claimed that the website was restored to working order quickly but that they were taking the website down for the day for extra precaution. And then they replaced their normal splash page with a public relations message about how mean pro-lifers are, including a button to donate. Who knows what happened, but it looked less like an actual hack or attack of a website and far more like an attempt to orchestrate a public relations campaign to help Planned Parenthood look less like monsters who harvest fetal organs and more like victims.” Most people don’t “hack” sites to set up pre-planned fundraising campaigns. http://vlt.tc/2143
Dave Weigel: For Democrats, there’s no right answer on Planned Parenthood. http://vlt.tc/2144 “The surprise of today’s Republican press conference on Planned Parenthood came when one of the freshman class’s stars praised Hillary Clinton. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa.) described how undercover videos had found the family planning group’s executives coldly discussing the sale of fetal body parts, and said that even Democrats were recoiling. “The American people, Republicans and Democrats alike, are horrified by the utter lack of compassion showed by Planned Parenthood for these women and their babies,” said Ernst. “In fact, now, Hillary Clinton is calling these Planned Parenthood images disturbing, and I agree.”
“That line had the intended effect. It rattled abortion rights supporters, reminding them that the Democratic frontrunner for president had hedged on their issue. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood is only the latest in a series of conservative attempts to shift the conversation on abortion, from one that bedevils Republicans to one that flummoxes Democrats. Instead of speaking generically — and popularly — about “women’s health care,” the Planned Parenthood sting forced Democrats to confront the little-covered and gruesome issue of fetal tissue sales.
“Clinton’s “disturbing” comment, made in an interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader, landed poorly. It did not matter that Planned Parenthood’s CEO Cecile Richards had apologized for the conversations in the video sting. The Democratic frontrunner, seemingly, had been forced into a defensive crouch. “She needs to clarify what her [point of view] is, and articulate it strongly and without apology,” former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt told MSNBC’s Irin Carmon. “I just think that when candidates get to the firing line of a campaign they get thrown off balance and waffle.”
“Clinton’s closest competitor, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (R-Vt.), fared no better — at first. On July 17, when the videos broke, he cited Richards’s statement and averred that “the tone was terribly wrong” in the fetal tissue conversation. “He has not gone out of his way to defend the group,” wrote Mother Jones reporter Molly Redden in an article shared nearly 3000 times on Facebook… Conservative news sites, spotting an opportunity, have repeatedly asked the Democratic presidential candidates to talk about the videos. None have been willing to defend the videos’ contents.”