White House Press Secretary evades questions about Planned Parenthood video

By Dave Andrusko

josh-earnest  I didn’t expect that the White House press corps would questioned Press Secretary Josh Earnest as vigorously about the now infamous undercover Planned Parenthood video as they did on the controversial deal with Iran. But it would have been nice today if they had followed up on the initial question with some of the same skepticism. (You can see the question and answer at

www.c-span.org/video/?327168-1/white-house-daily-briefing beginning in the 35th minute).

Nonetheless we can tease out a few conclusions.

A reporter described what she described as a “domestic issue” that is “something that has been the topic of big debate. Some employees with Planned Parenthood were captured on video talking about fetal remain, the remains of aborted fetuses. Does the President have a reaction to this debate?”

Earnest responded, “I haven’t spoken to the President about this particular issue,” adding,  “ I will acknowledge that I have not seen the particular video.”

But not to worry. He hasn’t talked to the president, he hasn’t seen the video, but “I did read the news reports indicating that [pause] the policies that are followed by Planned Parenthood are entirely consistent with the strictest ethical guidelines established in the health care industry.”

Earnest also evaded the question of whether President Obama thinks it “is ethical to use the remains of aborted fetuses for medical research?” Ask Planned Parenthood.

And then the very end which is intriguing. The reporter says, “You haven’t seen the video, no indication the president has seen the video?” To which Earnest replies, “I don’t know if he has or not.”

Three quick points. First, how does Earnest know that Planned  Parenthood’s policies “are entirely consistent with the strictest ethical guidelines”? He read it in the news.

Guess who gave that assurance? Planned Parenthood.

Convenient.

Second, Earnest punted on what Obama’s opinion is on using fetal tissue for “research.” It would have been useful if the reporter asked what the President’s opinion is on harvesting intact body parts and selling them to a middle man who sells them to researchers who will experiment on them.

Third, Earnest would not flatly say Obama has not seen the video. Of course, if he hasn’t discussed “this particular issue” with the President, he has an out.

But Mr. Obama is joined at the hip with Planned Parenthood. Maybe he hasn’t seen the video, but I’d wager a pretty penny he’s been briefed (like Earnest) on which PPFA talking points to respond with if he ever has to answer.