Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus became frustrated on Thursday and accused CNN host Soledad O’Brien of not being “passionate” about taking on President Barack Obama after she questioned Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s “completely contradictory” positions on abortion.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, Romney had claimed that he had no intentions of restricting abortion rights.
“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” he told the paper’s editorial board.
The candidate was forced to walk back those comments the next day, telling reporters that he would be a “pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget.”
In fact, Romney’s website promises that the former Massachusetts governor would appoint Supreme Court justices to reverse Rov. v. Wade and eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In 2007, Romney said that he would be “delighted” to sign a bill banning all abortions nationwide because it would be “terrific.”
“That sounds completely contradictory to me,” O’Brien told Priebus on Thursday. “How is it not?”
“The fact of the matter is what he is referring to is whether or not there were piles of legislation in the Congress, what specific bills in the Congress in regard to abortion are you going to be pushing over the next four years,” the RNC chairman explained. “The fact of the matter is Mitt Romney has been absolutely 100 percent consistent on this issue, that he’s pro-life, that there will be no funding of abortion through Planned Parenthood using taxpayer dollars, that he would use an executive order — the Mexico City executive order — so that funding isn’t used to pay for abortions abroad.”
“I’m going to read to you the verbate of what that question said: ‘Do you intend to pursue any legislation?’” O’Brien repeated. “I’m only repeating it because it’s a complete contradiction.”
“You just keep repeating it and repeating it and repeating it,” Priebus complained.
“I’d like you to answer it because I keep repeating it,” the CNN host shot back. “Explain to me how it’s not a contradiction.”
“And I’m going to keep giving you the same — it isn’t a contradiction,” Priebus insisted. “You know what? He is going to have a piece of legislation in his budget that says there isn’t going to be taxpayer money used for abortion through Planned Parenthood. Why can’t you accept that?”
“Because you’ve just admitted a contradiction!” O’Brien replied.
“Soledad, I wish you’d be as passionate about taking Barack Obama to task for every one of his promises and for every one of his changes that he didn’t follow through on in the last four years,” Priebus quipped.
“We do all the time,” O’Brien pointed out. “I will send you the tweets from people who hate me on the Republican side and hate me on the Democratic side. And anybody who comes on this show knows — I don’t mean you. I know you love me.”
“I just got to tell you, we’re going to ask tough questions of everybody,” she concluded.
Watch this video from CNN’s , broadcast Oct. 10, 2012.