Wednesday, December 5, 2007
NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan writes for First Read (NBC):
Describing it as a press conference gone awry would be putting it mildly. Before the start of the NPR debate yesterday afternoon, the Clinton campaign arranged for Ellen Malcolm, the head of Emily's List, to hold a press conference with reporters.
Malcolm took the podium and argued that Clinton was the only candidate in this race who had stood up when it was tough, especially on women's issues. She said that Clinton -- standing up to the Bush Administration -- had led the fight to get the FDA to approve the Plan B contraceptive. She also cited the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts as a time when Clinton had been the strongest voice against his nomination, taking the floor and giving a passionate speech on why his nomination threatened Roe vs. Wade.
But the minute Malcolm stopped speaking, she was hit by questions from reporters armed with info sent out by the Obama campaign. Malcolm hadn't mentioned Obama by name, but she said that those who vote "present" at tough times don't show a true commitment to leadership -- referring to Obama's "present" votes on some anti-abortion measures while serving in the Illinois state Senate. But reporters asked Malcolm why the head of the Illinois Planned Parenthood had said in the Los Angeles Times that Obama was getting in trouble for a "present"-vote strategy that the pro-choice group had devised....
Referencing the battle Planned Parenthood had waged in South Dakota to repeal a law that had banned all abortions in the state, Malcolm was asked why Clinton had done nothing to help support that effort. Obama had sent money and written a letter in support of the group. The head of the South Dakota Planned Parenthood had called Clinton's silence on the issue "mystifying."