Stupak Mulls Run For Governor

Rachel Larris

Bart Stupak says he's seriously considering running for governor in Michigan in 2010.

Bart Stupak says he’s seriously considering running
for governor
in Michigan in 2010.

Stupak
said Tuesday that he will be traveling across his state in the coming weeks to
gauge support for a bid, but added that he wants to avoid a bloody primary.

"I
may very well be the strongest candidate," he said, adding that there are
three or four qualified candidates looking at running. "I would hope party
leaders would get behind a candidate," he said. "We can’t have a
primary battle. A divisive primary would not be good."

It would be hard to imagine there wouldn’t
be a primary battle for the Democratic nomination. Since Lieutenant Governor
John Cherry announced last week that he would not
run for the Democratic slot
the race has been left wide open. Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith of Salem Township and State Senate
Hansen Clarke of Detroit have already announced they are running. Meanwhile
several others may jump into the race. House Speaker Andy Dillon has been thought as a strong
contender for the seat. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and former state Treasurer Bob Bowman are also considering running. And Detroit
businesswoman Denise
Ilitch
met with White House officials on Monday about potentially running.

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Stupak though, is being begged by the Democratic leadership not to leave his seat. He’s convinced, at least, that only he can win it for the Dems.

Stupak said that he’s
already gotten a call from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman
Chris Van Hollen (Md.) urging him to run for re-election.

"It’s a gone
district, if I’m not in there," Stupak said. President Barack Obama won
the district by a few hundred votes, Stupak said, despite pulling out all of
the stops.

Of course Stupak, the Congressman who has angered most of
the Democratic party with his amendment to ban coverage of abortion services in
the healthcare reform bill, thinks that his reputation would be an asset
in the Michigan gubernatorial race.

"I may very well be the strongest candidate because, as
you know, I don’t do everything the party tells me to," he told a clutch of
reporters Tuesday evening outside a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus. "So
in a way, that works well in a general."

Still
one added benefit is that if Stupak runs it would likely mean he would be
finished as a congressman. As the saying goes, with friends like these…

News Politics

Anti-Choice Democrats: ‘Open the Big Tent’ for Us

Christine Grimaldi & Ally Boguhn

“Make room for pro-life Democrats and invite pro-life, progressive independents back to the party to focus on the right to parent and ways to help women in crisis or unplanned pregnancies have more choices than abortion,” the group said in a report unveiled to allies at the event, including Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegates and the press.

Read more of our coverage of the Democratic National Convention here.

Democrats for Life of America gathered Wednesday in Philadelphia during the party’s convention to honor Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for his anti-choice viewpoints, and to strategize ways to incorporate their policies into the party.

The group attributed Democratic losses at the state and federal level to the party’s increasing embrace of pro-choice politics. The best way for Democrats to reclaim seats in state houses, governors’ offices, and the U.S. Congress, they charged, is to “open the big tent” to candidates who oppose legal abortion care.

“Make room for pro-life Democrats and invite pro-life, progressive independents back to the party to focus on the right to parent and ways to help women in crisis or unplanned pregnancies have more choices than abortion,” the group said in a report unveiled to allies at the event, including Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegates and the press.

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Democrats for Life of America members repeatedly attempted to distance themselves from Republicans, reiterating their support for policies such as Medicaid expansion and paid maternity leave, which they believe could convince people to carry their pregnancies to term.

Their strategy, however, could have been lifted directly from conservatives’ anti-choice playbook.

The group relies, in part, on data from Marist, a group associated with anti-choice polling, to suggest that many in the party side with them on abortion rights. Executive Director Kristen Day could not explain to Rewire why the group supports a 20-week abortion ban, while Janet Robert, president of the group’s board of directors, trotted out scientifically false claims about fetal pain

Day told Rewire that she is working with pro-choice Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, both from New York, on paid maternity leave. Day said she met with DeLauro the day before the group’s event.

Day identifies with Democrats despite a platform that for the first time embraces the repeal of restrictions for federal funding of abortion care. 

“Those are my people,” she said.

Day claimed to have been “kicked out of the pro-life movement” for supporting the Affordable Care Act. She said Democrats for Life of America is “not opposed to contraception,” though the group filed an amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court cases on contraception. 

Democrats for Life of America says it has important allies in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Sens. Joe Donnelly (IN), Joe Manchin (WV), and Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL), along with former Rep. Bart Stupak (MI), serve on the group’s board of advisors, according to literature distributed at the convention.

Another alleged ally, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), came up during Edwards’ speech. Edwards said he had discussed the award, named for Casey’s father, former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey, the defendant in the landmark Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which opened up a flood of state-level abortions restrictions as long as those anti-choice policies did not represent an “undue burden.”

“Last night I happened to have the opportunity to speak to Sen. Bob Casey, and I told him … I was in Philadelphia, receiving this award today named after his father,” Edwards said.

The Louisiana governor added that though it may not seem it, there are many more anti-choice Democrats like the two of them who aren’t comfortable coming forward about their views.

“I’m telling you there are many more people out there like us than you might imagine,” Edwards said. “But sometimes it’s easier for those folks who feel like we do on these issues to remain silent because they’re not going to  be questioned, and they’re not going to be receiving any criticism.”

During his speech, Edwards touted the way he has put his views as an anti-choice Democrat into practice in his home state. “I am a proud Democrat, and I am also very proudly pro-life,” Edwards told the small gathering.

Citing his support for Medicaid expansion in Louisiana—which went into effect July 1—Edwards claimed he had run on an otherwise “progressive” platform except for when it came to abortion rights, adding that his policies demonstrate that “there is a difference between being anti-abortion and being pro-life.”

Edwards later made clear that he was disappointed with news that Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock, whose organization works to elect pro-choice women to office, was being considered to fill the position of party chair in light of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation.

“It wouldn’t” help elect anti-choice politicians to office, said Edwards when asked about it by a reporter. “I don’t want to be overly critical, I don’t know the person, I just know that the signal that would send to the country—and to Democrats such as myself—would just be another step in the opposite direction of being a big tent party [on abortion].” 

Edwards made no secret of his anti-choice viewpoints during his run for governor in 2015. While on the campaign trail, he released a 30-second ad highlighting his wife’s decision not to terminate her pregnancy after a doctor told the couple their daughter would have spina bifida.

He received a 100 percent rating from anti-choice organization Louisiana Right to Life while running for governor, based off a scorecard asking him questions such as, “Do you support the reversal of Roe v. Wade?”

Though the Democratic Party platform and nominee have voiced the party’s support for abortion rights, Edwards has forged ahead with signing numerous pieces of anti-choice legislation into law, including a ban on the commonly used dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure, and an extension of the state’s abortion care waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Pro-Clinton Ads Question Trump’s ‘Respect’ for Women

Ally Boguhn

A CNN/ORC International poll conducted in March found that 74 percent of registered women voters polled viewed Trump “unfavorably.”

This week on the campaign trail, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton released an ad attacking Donald Trump’s stance on reproductive rights, and the chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) offered little more than a shrug when confronted with news that the party’s presumptive standard-bearer had mistreated women.

Pro-Clinton Super PAC Releases Ad Questioning Trump’s “Respect” for Women

Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting the Clinton campaign, this week released its first two attack ads targeting Trump, highlighting the candidate’s mistreatment of women and his comments on reproductive rights.

The ads, which have aired in four swing states, “offer scathing critiques of Mr. Trump’s comments about women that will run for the next three weeks in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Nevada,” reports the New York Times.

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In one of the ads, titled “Respect,” a clip of Trump claiming that “nobody respects women more than Donald Trump” is followed by a series of the Republican candidate’s statements on reproductive health and rights, including his promise to defund Planned Parenthood, and Trump’s suggestion that abortion patients should be “punished” if the procedure is made illegal.

The ad comes as Trump faces renewed controversy over his comments about making abortion punishable. In a New York Times Magazine article published Wednesday, the GOP presidential candidate attempted to spin his prior assertion, this time suggesting that he “didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves.”

Trump had claimed that though his “position has not changed” on the issues, doctors providing abortion care “would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”

A CNN/ORC International poll conducted in March found that 74 percent of registered women voters polled viewed Trump “unfavorably.”

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus Claims “People Just Don’t Care” That Trump Mistreats Women

Priebus, appearing on Fox News Sunday, dismissed the mistreatment of women by his party’s presumptive nominee.

“We’ve been working on this primary for over a year, Chris, and I’ve got to tell you, I think that all these stories that come out and they come out every couple weeks, people just don’t care,” Priebus claimed after host Chris Wallace questioned the GOP party leader about a recent investigation from the New York Times finding that Trump had treated women poorly in his professional and personal life.

Times reporters conducted more than 50 interviews with women who had worked with or come in contact with Trump, revealing “unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct” from Trump.

After Priebus attempted to brush off the query by questioning whether people would be surprised that Trump “had girlfriends,” Wallace pressed him to address how the party would respond to the news.

“But, forgive me, it’s not whether or not he had girlfriends, the question is whether or not he mistreated women, whether he made unwanted advances, whether he humiliated women in the workplace,” Wallace countered. “I don’t understand why you say that people don’t care about that, and are you going to look into the allegations?”

“I’m not saying people don’t care about it, I’m just saying I think the reason he’s where he is at is that he represents something much different than the traditional analysis of individual candidates,” Priebus said. “And, yes, everything bothers me, Chris, but I don’t know the truth of these things, I don’t know other than reading an article whether or not these things are true. I think it’s something that Donald Trump is going to have to answer questions in regard to. All I’m saying, though, is, is that after a year of different stories, you know, nothing applies.”

Priebus’ dismissal of Trump’s behavior toward women was a “telling response” that “speaks volumes” about the way the Republican Party treats women, as Rewire editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson explained.

“The real problem is that it’s the GOP leadership that just doesn’t care,” Jacobson wrote. “The reality is that Trump’s ‘problematic attitude toward women’ is not an isolated problem. For the GOP leadership, it is not a problem at all, but the product of their fundamental policies and positions. The GOP has been waging war on women’s fundamental rights for nearly two decades; it’s just gotten more brash and unapologetic about the attitudes underlying the party’s policies.”

What Else We’re Reading

Ari Rabin-Havt argues in the Huffington Post that Trump’s latest shift on his abortion punishment suggestion “is just borrowing from the playbook” of extremists like Troy Newman, who try to stigmatize abortion care.

“For survivors of abuse like me, Donald Trump’s interview with Megyn Kelly was excruciating,” Emily Crockett writes for Vox.

The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti questions how Trump’s history of mistreating women will impact voters.

Freedom Partners Action Fund, a Koch-backed group, is spending millions on the Ohio Senate race, where Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is facing off against Democrat Ted Strickland. The Koch groups have backed GOP candidates in other key Senate races, including Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, and have reserved $30 million in commercial time for Senate races.

With petitions involving voting restrictions potentially making their way to the Supreme Court by September, the justices could play a crucial role in helping decide the fate of the 2016 elections.

The Huffington Post takes a look inside Planned Parenthood’s $30 million campaign to protect reproductive rights and health this election season.

Connecticut approved a “motor-voter” system that will automatically register eligible voters visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles for driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards. An estimated 400,000 voters will be added to the state’s rolls, according to ThinkProgress

The Nation’s Ari Berman examines how automatic voter registration in Oregon “is revolutionizing American democracy.”