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Biden, Pelosi, and the answers they gave

by | Jun 17, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

There are many components to good reporting, starting with preparation, adding context, and pointing out when a public official avoids answering questions.

No, I am not talking about President Biden yesterday. Sheltered for well over a year, when he is asked a question he doesn’t like, he bristles.  

When the reporter—in this case CNN’s Kaitlan Collins—dared to try to respond, Biden’s ensuing finger-wagging, dismissive rejoinder reminded me of something I read this morning from author Tish Harrison Warren,  talking about herself : “And in the absence of control, feeling stuck and stressed, those parts of me that I prefer to keep hidden were momentarily unveiled.”

Naturally, Biden was immediately given a pass for his hot-tempered rebuke, once he apologized. In fact, he was praised for (guess what?) not being like President Trump.

Rather I’m talking about Caroline Downey’s story detailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s answer this morning to a reporter’s question at a Capitol Hill briefing. Downey wrote

The reporter, citing a Mississippi bill waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court that bans abortions after 15 weeks, asked, “Is an unborn baby at 15 weeks a human being?”

“Let me just say that I am a big supporter of Roe v. Wade,” Pelosi responded. “I am a mother of five children in six years. I think I have some standing on this issue as to respecting a woman’s right to choose.”

Why is this such a good job of reporting? Downey put the question in context—the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The question didn’t come out of left field.

Nancy Pelosi
Photo: Gage Skidmore

When Pelosi gives a non-response, we learn from Downey that reporter Julia Johnson of the Catholic News Service repeats her question. Pelosi, of course, ignores her.

In addition, Downey informs her readers that “Nancy Pelosi’s statement also comes after congressional Democrats reintroduced a bill, titled the Women’s Health Protection Act, that would invalidate nearly all state-level restrictions on abortion, including existing laws limiting late-term abortions.” More context.

Morgan Phillips of Fox News gives important background:

The California Democrat has long given some variation of her answer in Thursday’s press conference. In 2015, when faced with a question from CNS News on whether 20 weeks into the gestation period the unborn child constitutes a “human being,” she said she had “great standing” to speak on the matter “as a mother of five in six years,” and that she knows more about having babies than the pope. 

Categories: Legislation
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