September 16, 2015

Carly Fiorina took great advantage of her moment on the Big Stage last night, but it will take more than telling a lot of lies with great authority for her to overwhelm Donald Trump and even Jeb Bush.

In less than 90 seconds, she managed to conflate Iran and Planned Parenthood, while lying through her teeth about both.

At no time during the entire debate did any moderator stop to mention that the videos she refers to with such passion were doctored in ways that render them completely useless. But even if they had, her fantasy about Planned Parenthood describes something that simply did not happen in any video, doctored or otherwise.

First, Iran.

"On Day One in the Oval Office I will make two phone calls. The first to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel," Fiorina declared.

"The second to the Supreme Leader to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real 'anytime, anywhere' inspections by our people, not his, we the United States of America will make it as difficult as possible to move money around the global financial system. We can do that, we don't need anyone's cooperation," she concluded.

I guess Fiorina has some special snowflakes in Iran who would patch her through to the Supreme Leader, since she made so much money selling computer parts to Iran while she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Senator Barbara Boxer didn't let that go unnoticed.

Now we move to Planned Parenthood. If the Planned Parenthood defunding push is a test of American character, Carly has failed the character test entirely.

Carly Fiorina gave a harrowing description of the Planned Parenthood sting videos at Wednesday's Republican debate. She challenged Barack Obama to 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."

Fiorina is wrong: Nobody watching the Planned Parenthood tapes would see those things. I know, because I recently watched all 12 hours of footage.

The videos were produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group that argues Planned Parenthood has profited from procuring fetal tissue for researchers. The videos do show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue, sometimes in ways that are callous and jarring. But there is no moment where Planned Parenthood discusses procuring fetal tissue for profit, nor is there the scene that Fiorina describes.

There are two Planned Parenthood sting videos that were shot inside Planned Parenthood clinics (other videos exist, taped at conferences and lunch meetings). One was taped in Louisiana and the other in Colorado. And in both videos, Planned Parenthood employees do work with the fetal tissue, showing the pro-life advocates posing as tissue buyers the different parts of the body.

But the things Fiorina describes — the legs kicking, the intact "fully formed fetus," the heart beating, the remarks about having to "harvest its brain" — are pure fiction.

It doesn't exist, but it makes a nice sound bite and a pretty fiction for a woman who is mostly interested in making sure any Republican (her, in particular) elected to office kills lots more people in a war with Iran, poor women through denying them health care, and all of us who had health insurance for a little while before they took it away from us and left us all for dead.

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