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Carly Fiorina on Sunday stood by her disputed description of a scene from the videos targeting Planned Parenthood, but refused to say definitively that Republicans should force a government shutdown to defund the organization.
“Not at all. That scene absolutely does exist, and that voice saying what I said they were saying — “We’re gonna keep it alive to harvest its brain — exists as well,” Fiorina said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Fiorina’s description during the last GOP debate of a scene she said she saw in the anti-Planned Parenthood videos has been widely disputed in media reports, and there is no definitive proof it existed.
The controversy surrounding the alleged scene inspired a Washington Post editorial published this Sunday titled, “Fiorina’s falsehoods,” which raises questions about the veracity of a number of her claims and her character as a candidate for president.
Fiorina dismissed the Washington Post, noting their fact-checker recently raised doubts about her career trajectory.
“I don’t think the Washington Post has a lot of credibility here,” she said.
And in a testy exchange with host Chuck Todd, Fiorina repeatedly insisted that the practice she described “is happening.”
“Planned Parenthood cannot and will not deny this, because it is happening — and taxpayers are paying for it,” she said, decrying funding for the women’s health organization as a “political slush fund on top of being butchery that Americans…cannot support.”
But Fiorina wouldn’t commit to endorsing a government shutdown to defund the organization, the strategy many conservatives in Congress have floated as a response to the video. She initially laid the blame for a shutdown on President Obama and Congressional Democrats, declaring that if they’re “willing to stand up and defend…this practice and shut down the government over it, then let them explain it to the American people.”
Pressed on whether she’d back a shutdown to defund the group, Fiorina replied, “there are a variety of ways to deal with this.”
It’s a position that diverges from the conservative wing of the party and a number of other GOP presidential contenders, most notably Sen. Ted Cruz, the conservative firebrand that has routinely staged shutdown threats in efforts to win policy concessions on Capitol Hill.
She edged back towards the conservative end of the spectrum with a question on Congressional leadership. Fiorina said House Speaker John Boehner made the right decision in resigning, because his “season was coming to an end, and he understood that.”
“I hope now we will move on and have leadership in both the House and the Senate that will produce results,” she added.
But she suggested the focus is now on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who she says still hasn’t proved whether he can be an effective leader.
"We will see. He has been a leader for a very short period of time…leaders produce results” she said.