Credit Joe Scarborough not just for devoting a significant Morning Joe segment to the Gosnell abortion-murder trial today--but for declaring that he will have a reporter covering the trial--Joe Slobodzian of the Philadelphia Inquirer--back again tomorrow and throughout the week.
Ed Rendell—who was governor of Pennsylvania from 2003-10 while many of the horrors unfolded and the clinic went uninspected—was on today's Morning Joe panel. Scarborough questioned Rendell as to how this could have happened on his watch. Rendell claimed he knew nothing of the goings-on in the abortion clinic, that it was a question of bureaucratic bungling, and that he came under no pressure from abortion advocates to look the other way. View the video after the jump.
Kudos to Scarborough for covering the trial and questioning Rendell. As for the ex-gov: it was typical blame-shifting from a politician caught on the spot.
WILLIE GEIST: Joe, It's Willie Geist here. The obvious question, as you read through this grand jury report, and you see how long this was allegedly going on is where was the Pennsylvania Department of Health in all this? We know they made a visit there, maybe a couple of visits. How did they not identify this? If this was as well-known and widespread and people coming in out of state to guess these abortions as was reported, where was the Department of Health?
JOE SLOBODZIAN: According to what the grand jury has said and prosecutors have said it in the trial, they were AWOL. They had not been in to inspect the clinic in more than ten years.
. . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Joe, I thank you for this. You've obviously been covering this from the beginning and would love to have you back tomorrow, if that's OK, throughout the week if you have time just to stay up on this and see what is going on.
SLOBODZIAN: My pleasure.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much. Ed, this is a coincidence, but this was happening before you were governor, during you were governor, after you were governor. I got to ask you a tough question here. The grand jury and the prosecutor has said one of the reasons why this clinic wasn't investigated is because there is political pressures. Whenever somebody wants to go in and investigate an abortion clinic or do tough regulations on it, suddenly, people start screaming and yelling that somebody is trying to take away their constitutional rights. What happened here?
ED RENDELL: Again, I think it was more bureaucratic incompetence than that, Joe. I never heard anything about that. When I was district attorney I actually prosecuted a doctor for doing exactly what Dr. Gosnell did.
SCARBOROUGH: What years were you governor?
RENDELL: 2003 to 2010.
SCARBOROUGH: So you never once heard anything about this?