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RNC Chair & CNN Anchor Brawl Over Romney Comment -- Ends in Accusation of Media Bias


"I wish you would be as passionate about taking Barack Obama to task ..."

Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus on Thursday got into a bit of a testy exchange with CNN's Soledad "Talking Points Memo" O’Brien, the former accusing the latter of treating left-of-center issues with kid gloves.

The back-and-forth was sparked by O’Brien questioning Priebus over Paul Ryan recently telling reporters that voters would find out more about the Romney campaign's stance on abortion during the debates.

"I see the flap over this 'Des Moines Register' question, but, there’s nothing there there," Priebus told O’Brien, noting that both Romney and Ryan have expressed their pro-life views on numerous occasions.

"You don’t think so?" asked the perpetually furrow-browed O’Brien. "Well, let's walk through that because I doubt everybody knows it. So, let’s play a little bit of what Mitt Romney said to the 'Des Moines Register.' Because people are talking about it. So, I’m not sure there’s no 'there there.' Let’s play that first."

The CNN anchor then proceeded to show an extremely short and heavily-edited clip of Romney talking about how he wouldn’t "pursue any legislation regarding abortion," followed up by a seemingly contradictory quote from Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, and then concluded with a clip of the GOP candidate saying he’d defund Planned Parenthood.

"So, 'I’m going to remove funding from Planned Parenthood from my budget,'" O’Brien said, quoting Romney. "That would be legislation. The first clip I played, he said there will be no legislation in regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would be part of my agenda. That sounds completely contradictory to me. How’s it not?"

"Well, listen -- you spent all this time setting up the question and I appreciate that,” the RNC chairman replied. "But the fact of the matter is that what he’s referring to is whether or not there were piles of legislation in the Congress, what specific bills in the Congress in regards to abortion are you going to be pushing over the next four years --"

"-- Reince, that wasn’t the question," O’Brien interjected.

The conversation then turned into a "who-can-talk-over-the-other?" match, ending with this line from Priebus: "I wish you would be as passionate about taking Barack Obama to task for every one of his promises and for every one of his changes that he didn’t follow through on over the last four years."

Soledad defended her record.

"Which we do all the time," she said, "But I gotta' tell you, we're going to ask tough questions of everyone. I don’t care what side they’re on, honestly."

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

(H/T: Mediaite). Photos courtesy the AP.

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