CNN Hits Kasich from Left on 'Insulting' Women, 'Pandering' on Abortion

As GOP presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich appeared as a guest on Monday's The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer pressed him to apologize for "insulting" women because the Ohio governor recently recounted that in the 1970s some women "left their kitchens" to campaign for him. The CNN anchor then moved to forwarding charges that, by ending state funding of Planned Parenthood, he is "pandering" to "the most conservative wing" of his party.

At 6:30 p.m. ET, after starting the segment with a clip of Kasich making his "kitchens" comment at a town hall, followed by a clip of a woman at the event sounding offended, Blitzer opened the interview by pushing for an apology:

Governor, you said that comment was not "artful," but do you think you want to apologize to women out there for saying that they left their kitchens to campaign for you?

After the Ohio governor did not apologize directly in his response, Blitzer again lobbied for an apology as he followed up: "But, Governor, a lot of women think it was insulting. Why not just say, 'I made a mistake, I'm sorry'?"

After getting Kasich to concede an apology over his "kitchen" remarks, Blitzer then turned to repeating liberal talking points to press the Ohio governor on defunding Planned Parenthood in his home state:

Speaking about women, you signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. And here's the criticism you're getting: You speak a lot about helping the poor and the most vulnerable. But, as you know, Planned Parenthood does provide poor women with HIV testing, health screenings, prevention of violence against women.

And the accusation against you is you're pandering to the most conservative wing of the Republican party. Even Donald Trump says Planned Parenthood does some, quote, "wonderful things." Explain your decision.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, February 22, The Situation Room on CNN:

WOLF BLITZER: Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is facing some criticism for a remark he made today. Here's what he said at a campaign event about women who backed him when he first ran for state senate back in the late '70s.

GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH (R-OH): I went to Washington following my mother's advice. I'd been in the legislature before that at the age of 26. And how did I get elected? I didn't have anybody for me. We just got an army of people who -- and many women who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and put yard signs up for me all the way back when, you know, things were different.

BLITZER: That remark earned Kasich a rebuke from one of his current female supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I want to say your comment earlier about the women came out of the kitchen to support you, I'll come to support you, but I won't be coming out of a kitchen.

KASICH: I gotcha. I gotcha.

BLITZER: And the Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is joining us now live. Governor, you said that comment was not "artful," but do you think you want to apologize to women out there for saying that they left their kitchens to campaign for you?

KASICH: Well, you know, look, Wolf, yeah I mean, anybody be offended, of course. I, sometimes when you operate on the high wire without a net, sometimes, you know, you'll fall off and not say things exactly the way you want to. ... (goes on to recall his first campaign from the 1970s and that women have always been involved in his political life)

BLITZER: But, Governor, a lot of women think it was insulting. Why not just say, "I made a mistake, I'm sorry"?

KASICH: Sure, I'm sorry anybody who's offended, of course. I'm not, look, it's not, of course. I'm more than happy to say I'm sorry if I offended somebody out there, but it wasn't intended to be offensive. And if you heard the whole thing, you'll understand the context of it. But, look, all I'm saying to you, Wolf, is that without the power of the women who helped me out early in my career to give me a chance to hold public office, I wouldn't have made it, and I'm very grateful for all the work that they put in for me and many of them that still do.

BLITZER: Speaking about women, you signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. And here's the criticism you're getting: You speak a lot about helping the poor and the most vulnerable. But, as you know, Planned Parenthood does provide poor women with HIV testing, health screenings, prevention of violence against women.

And the accusation against you is you're pandering to the most conservative wing of the Republican party. Even Donald Trump says Planned Parenthood does some, quote, "wonderful things." Explain your decision.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters