PP AD: John McCain Indifferent to Sexually Abused Children

I just saw this on Ben Smith's Politico Blog.

For all those who said that Barack Needs to Hit Back at McCain for the "Sex-Ed Ad" Well looks like Planned Parenthood has Obama's back.

A couple of days ago, the McCain campaign released an ad basically insuinutaing that Obama wanted to teach Sex-Ed to Children "before they learned to read".  Of course we all were really pissed and disgusted by the blantantly, untrustful, and just damn gross dishonesty displayed by the McCain campaign.

Many of us here was saying that Obama needed to respond HARD and FAST.  I agreed that the campaign should respond swiftly, but I wasn't sure if it was a good idea for Obama himself to oversee the attack.  I thought that it would just be bad for Obama to get in the gutter with the McCain campaign.  I always figured that it would be better if some outside entity hit McCain over this issue. Well it seems like Planned Parenthood has steppped up to the plate.

Check out their new ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvpFUYTVi Lw
(Sorry guys don't know how to embed video)
http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0 908/Planned_Parenthood_defends_Obama_att acks_McCain.html#comments

Per Ben Smith:

Planned Parenthood Action Fund has a tough new ad responding to McCain's attack on Obama's support for some sex-ed for kindergartners. The ad defends Obama, and suggests McCain is indifferent to the plight of sexually abused children

Ben did not specify where this ad would be shown, but a reader noticed the ad in Planned Parenthood's YouTube account

I read somewhere that the Obama campaign has signalled to Liberal 527s and the like that they would not be adverse to them taking on issues against McCain, and that the campaign itself was preparing to get tougher in their strategy against McCain.

I guessing and sorta hoping that the attack has begun.

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Obama radio ads: McCain will turn back the clock on abortion

Ben Smith reported yesterday at Politico that Barack Obama's campaign is running radio ads in at least seven states about John McCain's stand on abortion.

I heard this ad in the car yesterday and this morning on two Des Moines-area radio stations: the oldies station KIOA and LITE 104.1. LITE heavily skews toward female listeners. I don't know about the gender breakdown of KIOA listeners, but that station generally appeals to an older audience, many of whom would remember when abortion was illegal.

Smith published the script:

   OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama, candidate for president, and I approved this message.

   VAL BARON: As a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood, I know abortion is one of the most difficult decisions a woman will ever make. I'm Val Baron. Let me tell you: If Roe v Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk.  That's why this election is so important.  John McCain's out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose. That's what women need to understand. That's how high the stakes are.

   ANNCR: As president, John McCain will make abortion illegal.  McCain says quote, "I do not support Roe v. Wade. It should be overturned." And listen to McCain's answer on Meet the Press:

       RUSSERT: "A constitutional amendment to ban all abortions. You're for that?"
        McCAIN: "Yes, sir."

   VAL BARON: We can't let John McCain take away our right to choose. We can't let him take us back.

   ANNCR: Paid for by Obama for America.

Yesterday I heard a shorter version of this ad, which is identical except that it does not have the Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner speaking at the beginning. Today I have only heard the longer version.

A few points worth noting about this ad:

It does not mention Sarah Palin or the fact that McCain picked an anti-choice running mate. The entire focus is on McCain's record on abortion. Smith reports the ad was cut before McCain selected Palin, and I think it's wise they did not revise to include anything about her. Keep the focus on McCain, who is not at all moderate on this issue.

Including the undated audio clip with Russert and McCain is effective, in my opinion. That is more memorable than anything a voice-over could say about McCain's position on abortion.

I prefer the long version of the ad, because I think it's powerful to have a nurse say abortion is a difficult decision for women. The anti-choice forces try to make it sound as if pro-choice people celebrate or even encourage "abortion on demand." However, most Americans understand that whatever their own views about the issue, abortion is not something women take lightly. Complicated personal circumstances lead to the decision.

These ads mark a major shift in strategy for the Obama campaign. Up to now, the campaign has been emphasizing economic issues rather than abortion at its women's outreach events. Click the link to read about the Obama women's event I attended a few weeks ago, during which Roe v Wade was only mentioned in passing.

Although Democratic candidates have not often made abortion the focus of paid advertising, I think this is a smart ad. Way too many women wrongly believe McCain is pro-choice. Even my stepmother, who is well-informed politically, thought that.

Now that McCain has played his hand and picked a running mate who appeals to evangelicals seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade, it's the right time to educate pro-choice women about McCain's true record on the issue.

The potential downside is that these ads will increase McCain's support among anti-choice voters. Although McCain scores zero on Progressive Punch's rankings on abortion as well as a perfectly anti-choice zero on Planned Parenthood's scorecard, many evangelical conservatives believe McCain does not have a pro-life voting record.

Incredibly, some figures on the Christian right believe McCain has a pro-abortion voting record (see here for more details on that perspective).

This ad makes crystal clear that McCain would try to make abortion illegal if elected president.

On the other hand, McCain has presumably already energized anti-choice voters by selecting Palin for vice-president. Also, I have yet to see any poll showing that a majority of Americans would like to see abortion criminalized.

Please put up a comment if you have heard these ads, with details about when and what kind of radio station aired them.

UPDATE: A Bleeding Heartland user saw Cindy McCain tell Katie Couric on CBS News tonight that she supports Roe v Wade. This echoes the tactic they used in previous elections, when it was made known that Laura Bush also would not like Roe v Wade to be overturned. We cannot allow this deception to give pro-choice voters a false sense of security. No matter what Laura Bush thinks, George W. Bush to my knowledge has not appointed any judges who support Roe v Wade.

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Walmart's Far Right Agenda

A few days back came the news that Walmart would not allow planned parenthood to hold an event in their parking lot. It seems that a few on the far right protested, claiming that Planned Parenthood was "pushing pornography and contraception onto young children - beginning in kindergarten," and pressuring "kids into promiscuous lifestyles." Walmart gave in to the small protest and canceled the event. This is, unfortunately, not surprising given Walmart's history of pushing a far right agenda. WakeUpWalMart.com put out the following statement:

In June of 2007, conservative groups threatened to boycott Wal-Mart because it was donating money to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations, and Wal-Mart quickly moved to appease them, announcing it would curb its support for GLBT groups. Now Wal-Mart has once again bent to radical right wing pressure by canceling a Planned Parenthood event that was to be held in their parking lot after the American Life League sent out a statement saying, "Now parents aren't even safe to go shopping without worrying Planned Parenthood will pressure their kids into promiscuous lifestyles that will increase their bloated birth control and abortion profits."

The following statement is attributed to Meghan Scott - campaign director for wakeupwalmart.com.

"Wal-Mart has shown their true colors in their decision to capitulate to a small group on the far right. Unfortunately, this should come as no surprise to the American people."

"Wal-Mart's history reflects a clear right wing agenda, and a company that will use its enormous power to undermine the very issues the American people care about. From failing to provide decent and affordable health care to facing the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in American history to paying poverty level wages, Americans have seen Wal-Mart stand with the Republican far right again and again. Now, with Wal-Mart's latest decision to serve the radical right's agenda, Wal-Mart has shown not only how out of touch they are, but that they openly choose to stand with right wing groups, and candidates like John McCain."

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Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Here's a simple yes or no question for a politician:

"Do you believe minors should be required to get parental consent -- or at least notify their parents -- before having an abortion."

As a staunchly pro-choice Democrat, the answer to this question is very important to me. I want the answer to be an unequivocal "no," possibly followed by the rationale that brought the politician to that conclusion, but that is not required.

Senator Barack Obama (or a staffer, as he tells it) got the answer right the first time in 1996 in a political survey filled out for the Independent Voters of Illinois -- Independent Precinct Organization, an Illinois voter group from whom he sought an endorsement.

Sadly, he had a quick change of heart (apparently the staffer got some things incorrect) and submitted an amended version (previous link) the very next day. His "no", now had a qualification:

"Depends on how young -- possibly for extremely young teens, i.e., 12- or 13-year-olds."

Okay, so now it's a "no" except under specific circumstances. While it's not the exact answer I'm looking for, I can deal with this - there seems to be some sense in having 12-13 year olds notify their parents.

Personally, I disagree. I believe females this young who become pregnant, are most likely the victims of incest or  rape, or lack the parental involvement to justify the legislation. Further, if a 12-13 year old girl feels she needs an abortion I don't believe anybody, even a parent, has the right to force a girl or woman to maintain a pregnancy. In addition, girls this young are the most likely to have severe complications during pregnancy, which further worries me. Lastly, I'm sure we've all heard of the stories coming out of Costa Rica, Columbia, Bolivia  of young girls molested, impregnated and denied abortions. I just believe that a right to choose is a right to choose, no matter how old you are. But again, while I disagree, I find this answer palatable.

Sadly, Senator Obama also does not claim this answer any longer.

Politico reports the Obama campaign's stance on the answers given in the aforementioned questionnaires:

"Sen. Obama didn't fill out these state Senate questionnaires -- a staffer did -- and there are several answers that didn't reflect his views then or now," Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama's campaign, said in an e-mailed statement. "He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn't change the fact that some answers didn't reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do."

Okay, so what is the Senator's view on parental notification?

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Hillary's Latest attack on Obama falls flat

Last week the Clinton campaign came out with this,

   [Clinton] also raised a new front on the issue of Obama's use of "present" votes -- rather than "yes" and "no" votes -- on legislation when he was in the Illinois Senate, including on measures that dealt with Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion rights. [...]

   Obama has defended his "present" votes on abortion-related bills in the Illinois legislature, contending it was part of a strategy fashioned with abortion-rights advocates to help give some Illinois Senate Democrats political cover and to avoid looking harsh by casting "no" votes that would create a re-election risk.

   But the Tribune earlier this year found few lawmakers remembered such a strategy and many of those who joined with Obama to vote present were, like him, in politically safe districts.

* Pam Sutherland of Planned Parenthood said today that Pate Philip "couldn't use those votes against the moderates or against pro-choice people." Sutherland also slammed Clinton. "Having come from Illinois, she doesn't understand Illinois politics." And Sutherland had this to say in today's Sun-Times...

   "The poor guy is getting all this heat for a strategy we, the pro-choice community, did," said Pam Sutherland, president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

http://thecapitolfaxblog.com/2007/12/04/ about-those-present-votes/

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