CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s Friday interview with Carly Fiorina turned into a heated argument after he asked if she regretted her statements about Planned Parenthood.
Cuomo pointed to last month’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, which the accused killer suggested was motivated by antiabortion views.
“Do you feel any sense of regret about how you characterised what was going on at Planned Parenthood after the attack in Colorado?” Cuomo asked.
Cuomo told the Republican presidential candidate that it “seems as though he was influenced by some of the rhetoric that was coming out of you and others, that painted a very ugly picture — an unfair one — about Planned Parenthood.”
“Oh please. Really Chris?” Fiorina shot back. “Look, nine video tapes have come out about Planned Parenthood. It is very clear what they have been doing. And in fact, Planned Parenthood several weeks ago made a quiet little announcement that they would no longer accept compensation for what they call ‘fetal tissue.’ That’s about as close to an admission as you can get.”
“That’s not what they say,” Cuomo interjected.
Media fact-checkers have reported for months that Fiorina, a Republican presidential candidate, stretched the truth in how she described a series of Planned Parenthood sting videos that generated intense backlash against the reproductive-healthcare organisation.
Here’s how The Associated Press characterised the dispute:
The flap began at Republicans’ Sept. 16 presidential debate, when Fiorina brought up widely circulated videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists and showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue to researchers.
“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape — I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes,” Fiorina said. “Watch a fully formed foetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
That detailed scene does not occur in the videos, produced by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. One of the videos, still posted on the center’s YouTube channel as of Friday, shows a woman identified as an “ex-procurement technician” from a firm other than Planned Parenthood discussing harvesting the brain of an aborted foetus.
When Cuomo told Fiorina on Friday that “the videos were edited, you know that,” the two started interrupting and talking over one another.
“I actually don’t know that,” Fiorina interjected.
“Of course they were edited. Of course the videos were edited. No, no, no, let’s be careful about what we’re saying,” Cuomo said.
“Let’s be very careful about what we’re saying, Chris,” Fiorina agreed, but with the implication that Cuomo was the one who should be careful. “Let’s be very careful about what we’re saying.”
Cuomo then attempted to contextualize their disagreement, pointing to the existence of both shorter and longer versions of the anti-Planned Parenthood sting videos.
“You’re saying that the raw portions of the videos substantiate the claims that you and others made. That has not been proven to any satisfaction in any objective way. There were scenes and pictures depicting horrible things that nobody should want to see that weren’t authentic,” Cuomo said.
He added, “No you have somebody who went out and killed in the name of that.”
“Really? Really” Fiorina asked. “Chris, careful, you’re a journalist. I don’t recall anybody in the pro-life community celebrating this tragedy … I think you’ve bought the Planned Parenthood line hook, line, and sinker. So, good to know that.”
Watch the exchange below:
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