Hillary Clinton’s long-standing allegiance to Planned Parenthood — in the national spotlight in the wake of hidden camera videos showing officials allegedly negotiating the sale of fetal tissue — could be an asset or a hindrance to her presidential aspirations, depending on who you ask, according to Politico
"The first job is to become the nominee, and the best route is to speak to the ideological base," Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf told the website. "Their basic language is protecting choice and that is what Planned Parenthood symbolizes.
"Those who don’t agree are likely not voting for her anyway, and if she is the Democratic Party nominee, will not be voting for her in the fall of 2016."
Pro-life conservatives, and fellow presidential candidates, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas have respectively chastised Clinton for accepting donations from Planned Parenthood officials and employees
and for failing to condemn the organization’s alleged sale of fetal tissue and body parts.
Paul said the former secretary of state’s hands are "stained by accepting this money" and called on her to "return every red cent she has received," while Cruz demanded to know whether Clinton remains an ardent supporter of "an entity that appears to be a national criminal enterprise."
Clinton has characterized the videos as "disturbing" but has otherwise voiced support for the organization, with whom her ties run deep and include a personal friendship with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. Richards' daughter, former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams, is the Clinton campaign’s Iowa press secretary, according to Politico.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund contributed $8,000 to Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and $1,837 to her presidential committee in the 2008 cycle, Politico reports, adding that Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative and Planned Parenthood have many large donors, consultants and allies in common.
Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen is helping the organization in its public relations crisis, while Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, "the pollster on the Clinton super PAC Priorities USA and served as a chief strategist of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign" is conducting a poll about attitudes toward the organization, according to Politico.
, which touts itself as "the nation’s largest resource for women in politics" and is raising money to fight the Planned Parenthood defunding effort, quickly endorsed Clinton for president, calling her "a lifelong champion for women and families."
Garin, the pollster, told Politico that a campaign war over a heated social issue like abortion would favor Clinton over a Republican challenger.
"Both Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support continued support for Planned Parenthood, and women voters in particular look at Planned Parenthood as a trusted source of healthcare," Garin said.
"In political terms, it’s very clear that Hillary Clinton is on the right side of public opinion. The Republicans who have a mania against Planned Parenthood are digging a deep hole for themselves with general election voters."
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