According to the New York Times, pro-life Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey, Jr. spoke last night at the Democratic convention to “reach out to religious voters and anti-abortion Democrats and independents.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted prior to Casey’s speech that it was part of the Democratic party strategy to “build a coalition, largely of pro-choice people, but with some, a few, pro-lifers, in order to win 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.” Former Clinton advisor Paul Begala told CNN that Casey speaking at the convention was “an example of Senator Obama’s ability to find common ground.” CNN’s Gloria Borger stated, “Having Senator Casey up there, who disagrees with Barack Obama on the issue of abortion, who will talk about it and talk about how they disagree, but how he respects Obama and the way he handles this issue, it's something that they hope Catholic voters will be listening to.”
The only problem was that Casey didn’t “reach out” to pro-life voters. He simply acknowledged his and Obama’s differing views on abortion in the following statement: “Barack Obama and I have an honest disagreement on the issue of abortion. But the fact that I'm speaking here is testament to Barack's ability to show respect for the views of people who may disagree with him.” That’s the only mention of abortion that appeared during the seven minute speech."
Casey could have reached out to pro-life voters, and illustrated Obama’s “respect for the views of people who may disagree with him” by discussing the new additions to the Democratic party platform in the abortion plank. The New York Times reported that “While it unequivocally endorses a woman’s right to abortion and the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision affirming it, the platform also includes calls for support for alternatives to abortion. Those measures include improved prenatal care, better financing for sex education, family planning and parenting classes, and more help for adoption.” Some of the alternatives to abortion, such as more help for adoption, truly is common ground in the battle over abortion.
But any other discussion would have taken away from the cheerleading performance to which the rest of Casey’s speech was devoted.
Full text of Casey’s speech can be found here.