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Paid Democratic Hitman': Stephanopoulos' Bizarre Debate Question on Contraception Suddenly Makes Sense
THIS WEEK - George Stephanopoulos on This Week set, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005 in Washington. "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airs Sundays (9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Paid Democratic Hitman': Stephanopoulos' Bizarre Debate Question on Contraception Suddenly Makes Sense

"...do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception?"

Conservative commentator Dick Morris believes that the Democrat party is covertly trying to convince voters that Republicans want to "ban contraception."

Seem a little far-fetched?

Remember when George Stephanopoulos, former senior political adviser to President Bill Clinton, moderated that ABC News Republican debate last month? Immediately following the debate, he was accused of asking “unfair” and biased questions and of running the debate in a manner that was anything but objective.

And while these charges are debatable, most everyone agrees that the moment where Stephanopoulos suddenly shifted the topic from job creation to hypothetical questions involving whether the states have a right to ban contraception was...odd (to say the least).

“Governor Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?” Stephanopoulos asked the slightly bewildered-looking former Massachusetts governor.

“George, this is an unusual topic that you’re raising,” Romney responded, “Do states have a right to ban contraception? I can’t imagine a state banning contraception. I can’t imagine the circumstances where a state would want to do so…Given that there’s no state that wants to do so, and I don’t know of any candidate that wants to do so, you’re asking could it constitutionally be done? We could ask our Constitutionalist here,” Romney said, gesturing toward Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Stephanopoulos persisted.

“Do you believe states have that right or not?” he asked Romney.

“George, I don’t know if the state has a right to ban contraception, no state wants to! The idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do, that no state wants to do, and then asking me whether they can do it or not is kind of a silly thing,” Romney responded, much to the crowd’s delight.

See the ABC GOP debate exchange via News Busters:

At the time, critics called Stephanopoulos' contraception question a non sequitur. Indeed, judging by the look on Mitt Romney’s face, the question seemed to come out of nowhere.

But that was then. That was before war broke out between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration. That was before the infamous HHS mandate that forces religious organizations to provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

As a direct result of the struggle between the U.S. Catholic bishops and President Obama, the "right" to contraception has suddenly become a major political issue -- one in which a Roman Catholic running for president could easily be accused of favoring a ban.

Of the two Republican presidential candidates who are Catholic, Dick Morris and talk show host Rush Limbaugh believe that Democrats are specifically targeting former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

This has led some critics to believe that Stephanopoulos’ question wasn't so much out of left field as it was part of a much larger strategy to make certain Republican candidates appear to support a ban on contraception.

Remember: George Stephanopoulos was a senior political adviser to President Bill Clinton; he is more than familiar with campaign strategy.

But why would Democrats take this line of attack?

“The Democrats realize that abortion is no longer a winner for them,” Dick Morris said while on Fox News’ Sean Hannity Show, “It used to be 10 points more pro-choice than pro-life, now it’s 10 points more pro-life than pro-choice.”

Consequently, because Democrats can no longer depend on abortion for their self-defined "moral" high ground, Morris believes that they have to rely on contraception. It's no longer about the "right to choose," but rather the "right" to contraception.

“The point is [abortion is] a loser issue,” Morris said, “so what they’re trying to do is replace it with contraception.”

Morris makes his case:

So, the first piece of evidence was after Santorum won Iowa. The first controversy was “do you think states should have the right to ban contraception?”

Where did that come from?

Then you remember that ABC debate with that paid Democratic hitman, George Stephanopoulos, went after Romney…trying to pin him down on contraception? And Romney kept saying, “George, no one wants to make contraception illegal.” You remember? It was five minutes. People were laughing at [Stephanopoulos], booing him.

Fox Host Sean Hannity sought to clarify Morris’ comments.

“Do you think [Stephanopoulos] was doing this under direct orders?” Hannity asked.

“Under orders,” Morris confirmed. “It’s no coincidence that [President Obama] came out with the [HHS mandate] after Minnesota and Colorado, which were Santorum's victories. They want to create the impression that Republicans will ban contraception. Which is totally insane!”

With that in mind, and understanding the power Democrats would wield should they succeed in convincing voters that certain Republicans want to "ban contraception," that seemingly bizarre exchange between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos suddenly makes much, much more sense.

Watch Morris explain his theory via News Busters:

(H/T: Daily Rushbo)

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