During his normal "Hardball" program on MSNBC on Thursday evening, Chris Matthews asked Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if the "Republican party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights." Hutchison, whose name has been floated as a possible vice-presidential nominee for John McCain, didn’t give a straight yes or no answer, and mentioned that in her view, "...both the Republican and the Democratic platform generally have areas that are not mainstreamed, and I don't think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety, and I think you just have to understand that a candidate’s views are going to prevail and I think people choose the candidate."
Hutchison has a mixed record on the abortion issue. While she has a generally pro-life voting record (she has been given poor marks by NARAL and mostly good marks from the National Right-to-Life Committee), some pro-lifers point out that the senator did vote for an amendment to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 which found that the Roe v Wade decision was "appropriate and secures an important constitutional right; and such decision should not be overturned." She has also voted for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
One wonders if Matthews would ask pro-life Democrats if their party platform was "inclusive enough" on abortion, or if the party in general was "inclusive enough" or tolerant enough of pro-lifers. Only one supposed pro-lifer, Senator Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania, addressed the Democratic convention this week (Casey’s endorsement of radically pro-abortion Barack Obama early in the primary season has undermined the senator’s credibility on the issue for pro-lifers), and his father, the late governor of Pennsylvania, was barred from speaking at the convention in 1992.
The transcript of the exchange between Matthew and Hutchison, which began 19 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of "Hardball" on Thursday:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think the Republican party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights?
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, I believe that that is a very personal issue, and I think that we ought to acknowledge that people in the same family can differ on that issue, people who are the closest friends can be different on that issue. And I think we should have standards, but I don't think we should eliminate people, or say you can't be welcomed in our party if you have legitimate and -- views on that issue. But, Chris, I do think that both the Republican and the Democratic platform generally have areas that are not mainstreamed, and I don't think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety, and I think you just have to understand that a candidate’s views are going to prevail and I think people choose the candidate. The party, of course, in the overall priorities is a factor. It's important. But you can't agree on every issue in a platform, and you wouldn't with your wife or your mother or your husband or your children, and so, I don't think we should be -- you know, really, a litmus test on either party platform.