Flustered CNN Analyst Can't Fathom Why GOP Is Holding Out Over Planned Parenthood Funding

On Thursday night's "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN senior political analyst David Gergen thought it an "outrage" for Republicans to shut down the government right now if Planned Parenthood is still funded. An agitated Gergen cast the amount of federal funding Planned Parenthood annually receives as "tiny," and failed to acknowledge that the Democrats are also contributing to the impasse by holding out for Planned Parenthood funding.

"It would be an outrage...for the Republicans to shut down the government on matter how much money we give to Planned Parenthood or how the EPA is funded," Gergen insisted.

Gergen repeatedly argued that the amount of funding Planned Parenthood receives is negligible, and the battle can be fought at another time.

"They can be settled elsewhere," he said of arguments over funding of Planned Parenthood and the EPA. "They're legitimate debates. They're legitimate subjects, but not central to the budget."

Former Tea Party leader and CNN contributor Dana Loesch was the only person in the segment to acknowledge that Democrats are part of the budget impasse, by holding onto Planned Parenthood funding.

"We wouldn't even be having this discussion if we had passed a budget a year ago," she claimed. Gergen agreed, but clearly put more of the blame on Republicans than Democrats for the Planned Parenthood standoff.

"You know perfectly well that the reason [Republicans] are trying to gut Planned Parenthood is they don't like it," Gergen told Dana Loesch on-air. "Same reason they're trying to, you know, gut National Public Radio. It doesn't spend a lot of money."

"How much is involved? How much is involved with Planned Parenthood in D.C.? How much is involved? It must be less than $500,000," he argued. Actually, when the House voted in February to de-fund Planned Parenthood, the measure sought to remove $330 million that would have been allocated to the organization through the end of September.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 7 at 10:07 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

ANDERSON COOPER: David Gergen, you have worked in White Houses, Republican White Houses and Democratic White Houses.

Do you believe the Democrats? Are they right in your opinion when they say, look, that the Republicans are trying to shut this government down basically based on social issues?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they're partially right.

Anderson, there are so many outrages now that are accumulating over this whole controversy.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Is it normal to have discussion of greenhouse gases in a budget debate like this?

GERGEN: No, no, no. And it would be an outrage to shut down the government, for the Republicans to shut down the government on whether how much money we give to Planned Parenthood or how EPA is funded. Those are not central issues to the budget.

They can be settled elsewhere. They're legitimate debates. They're legitimate subjects, but not central to the budget. But, Anderson, the whole thing, this whole controversy has become an abject failure of leadership in the White House and in Congress. We should not -- great nations should not be on the brink of shutting down its government over a fairly trivial amount of money. David Walker is a former comptroller of the general, says -- points out this is a small fight. The big one is coming. This is a fight about paying, as David says, paying the bar bills on the Titanic.

(...)

COOPER: So David Gergen, how much does this then boil down to about politics on both sides, whether it's internal Republican politics or Democrats not wanting to look weak -- you know in front of Republicans going into this next budget battle?

GERGEN: It's all about politics. Increasingly it's about smelly politics.

Dana, I want to come back to this thing about Planned Parenthood. The reason for cutting Planned Parenthood because they're going to save money doing, you know perfectly well the amount of money involved is tiny, tiny, Planned Parenthood in D.C.

But let me ask you, you know perfectly well that the reason they're trying to gut Planned Parenthood is they don't like it. Same reason they're trying to, you know, gut National Public Radio. It doesn't spend a lot of money.

DANA LOESCH: Well, where's the refusal to make some cuts?

GERGEN: They just don't like it. There are a whole --

LOESCH: Wait.

GERGEN: Listen, there are a lot of cuts on the table. What I would like to ask you --

LOESCH: You're going to shut down the government over that?

GERGEN: Well, that's what I want to ask you. Are you --

LOESCH: You'll shut down the government over Planned Parenthood?

COOPER: Let him out. Let him out.

GERGEN: Will the Tea Party -- yes, that's what I'm asking you. Would the Tea Party punish members, Republicans who vote for a compromise that does not include a Planned Parenthood rider? Would you actually punish them if they -- if they vote for a compromise and keep the government open?

LOESCH: Well, I don't speak for the whole Tea Party.

GERGEN: Well, what is your personal view?

LOESCH: But I will say this. I speak for myself. I look at it like, if we're going to talk about the budget, we need to talk about cutting things. And if you want to make the stand on Planned Parenthood, you want to shut down the government, you want to actually target the salaries of our servicemen and women, who are overseas right now, where -- we just got into Libya, who are overseas right now, you want to target their salaries over one instance in Washington, D.C.?

COOPER: But, Dana, you're making it sound like --

LOESCH: That could be something that you could go to sleep with.

COOPER: But, Dana, I mean, you're making it sound like the Democrats are the ones who brought up this Planned Parenthood thing and they're the ones who are pushing this down people's throats. Democrats are saying, wait a minute, it's the Republicans who brought this up. You're the -- they're saying you're the ones who are making this the issue.

LOESCH: It was suggested as a cut. And can Democrats suggest other things that they would like to replace with that -- to cut? We have to start cutting somewhere. I reject the amounts from both parties. I think they're too small.

GERGEN: How much is involved? How much is involved with Planned Parenthood in D.C.? How much is involved? It must be less than $500,000.

LOESCH: That's irrelevant. Because you can say that with --

GERGEN: How is it irrelevant if the issue is --

(CROSSTALK)

LOESCH: Over time it adds up, though. Over time it adds up.

GERGEN: You know, if you want to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood --

LOESCH: Only in D.C. is a few million nothing.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: I think you can guarantee if you want to shut down the government, if the Tea Party wants to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood --

LOESCH: It's not the Tea Party.

GERGEN: Well, but --

LOESCH: We wouldn't even be having this discussion if we had a budget passed a year ago.

GERGEN: That's true.

LOESCH: We wouldn't even be having this discussion.

GERGEN: I -- your point is well taken on that. I disagree with my good friend, Paul Begala on that. But the point of this is, if you really want to hand -- shut down the government over Planned Parenthood, don't you think there's a reasonable chance it will discredit the Tea Party?

LOESCH: Well, this isn't -- I don't think it's going to discredit the Tea Party at all. And again, I don't look at this as we're taking -- no one is taking a stand on Planned Parenthood. People are taking a stand on let's start cutting.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014