Mayor Bill de Blasio today slammed rising Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina for her pro-life attacks on Planned Parenthood in the GOP debate on Wednesday night.
The liberal Democratic mayor ripped the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer as out-of-touch with the interests and beliefs of most Americans for demanding the federal government cut all funding to the reproductive medical centers, which provide abortions as well as other services. Pundits widely saw her remarks—when she spoked about a series of undercover videos a pro-life group recorded of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the intentional preservation of aborted fetal tissue for medical research—as a break-out moment for Ms. Fiorina, who has lagged in the polls despite recent gains.
“I think when you see someone like Carly Fiorina attacking the reproductive health options provided by Planned Parenthood, I think it is not only wrong on every level, but I think women all over this country will reject her and any other Republican who tries to stand in the way of women getting the health care that they need,” Mr. de Blasio told radio host Brian Lehrer.
Ms. Fiorina’s comments took the form of a challenge to President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, both adamant supporters of Planned Parenthood and free access to abortion procedures.
“I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes,” she said. “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.'”
The remarks earned Ms. Fiorina massive applause from the audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in her home state of California, but several media outlets where reporters reviewed the footage of the tapes reported that no such scene appears in them.
Mr. de Blasio worked in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development during the former President Bill Clinton’s administration and managed the former First Lady’s 2000 successful New York campaign for a U.S. Senate seat. He surprised some observers earlier this year by refusing to endorse Ms. Clinton until she outlines a plan to combat income inequality, though he has praised her campaign in several recent interviews.
Ms. Fiorina’s camp appeared to allude to this relationship in firing back.
“Sadly, it’s not a surprise since Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio have been defending what’s in these videos their whole careers,” a spokeswoman for the businesswoman told the Observer.
The mayor admitted today that he did not watch the debate live and only saw the candidate’s comments later.
“Brian, I, I have only so much pain tolerance, so I don’t watch those whole debates, but I watched the clips afterward,” he said.
The mayor also lambasted the GOP field for its general opposition to illegal immigration. Mr. de Blasio alluded to Pope Francis’s scheduled visit next week, and the pontiff’s calls for world leaders to recognize their “common humanity” with those seeking to start a new life in their countries.
“Meanwhile the Republican candidates are outdoing themselves to attack immigrants and to attack, basically, what made this country great. I do not think that’s going to help them in the election next year, and is obviously morally wrong as well,” the mayor said.
Ironically, Pope Francis—like his predecessors in the Vatican—is a staunch opponent of abortion.
Updated to include comment by Ms. Fiorina.