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During Wednesday’s Republican debate Carly Fiorina made a very strong and powerful condemnation of Planned Parenthood, based on what she described was contained in the very ugly undercover videos of that organization and its officials. You can watch her full statement here, but the key lines are these:
As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.
Not surprisingly, there has been a kerfuffle on the web between the left and the right on whether Fiorina was accurately describing what was on the videos. Many liberal news sites have noted, quite accurately, that none of those videos show exactly what Fiorina describes, while this story tries to fact check both her words and the liberal challenges to her, concluding that in essence the tapes did show something akin to what Fiorina described, but not exactly.
This debate however misses the point. Yes, Fiorina was getting the essense right. The videos do show a despicable organization whose officials are quite willing to harvest the body parts of newly born babies for profit. But this is not what I found significant about Fiorina’s statement.
When I watched this clip from the debate, my first thought was that it clearly demonstrated that Fiorina herself had not personally watched the tapes. In one breath she challenges Obama and Clinton to watch them, while in the very next breath she describes something that isn’t actually on the tapes, as she describes it, demonstrating that she has formed her opinions of these videos from hearsay or from a very superficial quick scan of them. While I agree with her about Planned Parenthood and what these videos prove about that organization, I found her statement very revealing. It told me that her knowledge on this subject is superficial with her opinions formed from hearsay evidence.
I found myself at that moment very unimpressed with Fiorina as a candidate. She might have the right principles, but her willingness to base her opinions on incomplete information and then demand that others agree with her I found very disappointing. The candidate the Republicans choose has got to be someone who is rock solid, with no sloppiness about his or her approach to the facts. With this one soundbite, however, Fiorina demonstrated to me that she is not rock solid, and can be sloppy. This is not a candidate I want running for President.