Carly Fiorina, Chuck Todd clash over Planned Parenthood claims

Carly Fiorina on Sunday defended her assertion that an undercover sting video shows Planned Parenthood officials keeping a “fully formed fetus” alive “to harvest its brain.”

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At the second Republican presidential debate earlier this month, one of Fiorina’s strongest moments came when she described a gruesome scene from one of the controversial undercover videos.

"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 said at the time.

Fiorina’s description of the scene, and her supporting super-PAC’s subsequent use of it in an campaign ad, have been under fire, as media fact checkers and Planned Parenthood have said it was cobbled together using misleading and unrelated footage.

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday asked Fiorina to acknowledge this.

“There is no evidence that the scene you described exists,” Todd said. “Are you willing now to concede that you exaggerated that scene?”

“No, not at all,” Fiorina responded. “That scene absolutely does exist. And that voice saying what I said they were saying, ‘We're going to keep it alive to harvest its brain,’ exists as well’.”

“Planned Parenthood will not and cannot deny this because it is happening,” Fiorina continued. “It is happening in this nation. And taxpayers are paying for it. Planned Parenthood desperately wants everyone to think this isn't going on. Because when Americans realize it is going on, whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, they are horrified. This goes to the character of our nation and it must be stopped.”

Todd accused Fiorina of ducking the issue, saying “the footage you describe at best is a reenactment.” Fiorina hit back, and criticized Todd for not asking Hillary Clinton about the issue when she sat for an interview earlier in the day.

“Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck,” Fiorina said, talking over the anchor. “Do you think this is not happening? Does Hillary Clinton think this is not happening? So sad that you missed the opportunity to ask Mrs. Clinton why she said, ‘Late-term abortions were only performed for medical purposes.’ That is patently false. This is happening in America today. And taxpayers are paying for it. That is a fact. It is a reality. And no one can run away from it.”

Fiorina supports defunding Planned Parenthood, and has said congressional Republicans should take the fight to the White House, even if it results in a government shutdown.

That option seems less likely now that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has announced his resignation. But Fiorina on Sunday said there are still “a variety of ways to deal with this.”

“I believe this is something we must stand up and fight for,” Fiorina said. “Because it is about the character of our nation. Taxpayers are funding this activity. And not only that, not only are taxpayers having to fund this butchery, but Planned Parenthood doles out millions of dollars every single election cycle to Democrat candidates. This is a political slush fund on top of being butchery that Americans, again, whether they're pro-life or pro-choice, cannot support.”

On Saturday, Planned Parenthood supporters confronted Fiorina at a University of Iowa football game. Protesters shouted at her: “Off-sides for telling lies,” and “layoffs, lies, no surprise, Carly fumbles for these Hawkeyes.”

Fiorina said on Sunday the protesters also threw condoms at her.

“I don't know what that has to do with this,” Fiorina said. “They're trying to distract the American people from the hideous reality that Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses alive to harvest their brains and other body parts. That is a fact.”

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