After flip-flopping on his support for the Hyde Amendment, Biden flip-flopped back to his original position only to flip-flop one more time, Joe Biden’s team is struggling to explain why he keeps changing his position on the Hyde Amendment.
Just two days ago, Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond was on CNN defending the candidate’s support for the Hyde Amendment. Today, Biden’s Communications Director couldn’t give CNN’s Brianna Keller a sufficient answer about Biden’s newfound belief.
Read the full Q&A:
BRIANNA KEILAR: former vice president joe biden does a surprising about-face on a hot button issue in the presidential race. biden now says that he wants to get rid of the hoyd amendment which blocks federal money from being used for abortions in, for instance, all cases with an exception for the life of the mother as well as in the case of rape or ininvestment he explained this change at an event last night.
JOE BIDEN (CLIP): circumstances have changed. i’ve been working through the final details of my healthcare plan like others in this race and i’ve been struggling with the problems that hyde now presents. if i believe healthcare is a right as i do, i can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependant on someone’s zip code.
KEILAR: kay benningfield is deputy campaign manager and communications director for the biden campaign, and we certainly appreciate you coming in to talk to us.
KATE BEDINGFIELD: thanks for having mow. appreciate it.
KEILAR: 24 hours ago biden was on the record, still supporting the hyde amendment. walk us through the anatomy of this decision change. it is — this is a big change of heart.
BEDINGFIELD: well, look, this is not had a decision about politics for him. it’s a decision about he can apartment. you heard him say last night that “rowe” sunday unprecedented assault in this country. we’ve seen republican-led legislature
KEILAR: when did this become an issue about healthcare for him and not an issue about issue or morality?
BEDINGFIELD: it is an issue about healthcare access and you heard him say that last night. “rowe” is under unprecedented assault. you have republican-led legislature following donald trump’s lead saying on the campaign trail that women who had abortion should be punished trying to cut off access, predominantly minorities and — and women in underserved communities, and so the vice president feels like in this moment of crisis on choice that — that he does not want to be foreclosing off any avenue for women receiving the healthcare that they need.
KEILAR: that’s been the argument of people who support abortion rights for quite some time now. we’ve seen a number of significant moves in many states. it’s been going on for months, months before joe biden got into the race, so why — why this change now because if you’re trying to convince people that this isn’t about political expediency, which is part of joe biden’s hallmark, or as he would hope it would be, then don’t you have to explain substantively how he changes his mind from wednesday to thursday on an issue as significant as this across — that crosses so many lines, healthcare, yes, for democratic primary voters but maybe for general election voters and mast majority of them, it’s also an issue of morality and religion, so what is the substantive explanation for how he changed his mind?
BEDINGFIELD: look, this was a tough personal decision for him, but the substantive explanation is that the moment that we’re in now is a dramatically different one.
KEILAR: did he — how did he do it? did someone give him evidence? what kind of evidence? did he speak to advocates or women? what was the impetus and infliction point that changed his mind?
BEDINGFIELD: the other thing that’s getting lost here is he’s been an advocate for women choice his entire career. in the last 50 years democrats have successfully kept one republican supreme court nominee off the court, robert bork and who led that fight and that was a fight about choice.
KEILAR: we’re talking about the hyde amendment.
BEDINGFIELD: but to suggest to — but i though suggest — i think to suggest that this is somehow out of step or out of sync with the way that he’s viewed this issue is actually not true. i mean, this is an issue for him about —
KEILAR: but changing from wednesday to this happened because did he speak to an advocate? did he speak — what was the thing that changed his mind?
BEDINGFIELD: you’ve heard him say he said last night. he is looking — as he’s thinking about his healthcare plan which he’ll roll out in the coming weeks and he’s thinking about access and thinking about how we ensure that any moment when choice is under fire, when, you know, republican-led state legislatures are coming after choice, how do we make sure that every woman who needs access to healthcare gets it? that’s going to be a peeves his plan when he rolls out his healthcare plan, and as he was working through, that he decided that in this moment of crisis that he could no longer be for something that would close off those avenues to women.
KEILAR: all of those conditions that you just explained are as they were on wednesday when nbc news published their story saying that joe biden, according to his campaign, was still — still held this position which he is now against the hyde amendment. so what — is there — is there — look, he says — he says in his book, i’ve made life difficult for myself by putting intellectual consistency and personal principle above expediency. so are we in this moment, what is — what is the process?
BEDINGFIELD: you heard — well, you heard him say it. i think — you’ve asked the question a lot of ways and i’ve answer interested.
KEILAR: i don’t think you’ve answered it, kate.
BEDINGFIELD: he has looked at the — the — frank lit crisis —
KEILAR: what was the thing that made — so —
BEDINGFIELD: this is a personal decision.
KEILAR: did anyone in the campaign talk to him? did they give him any evidence or show him the polls on where democrats, likely voters in the primaries stand?
BEDINGFIELD: a personal decision offies? a tough decision, one he wrestled with. you note he’s written in his career about his personal struggle on this issue, and this is — and it’s one that, you know, he at the end of the day he makes personal decisions for himself about where he’s going to at the — the — you know, like i said, he looked at the crisis that we’re facing on choice in this country, and he made that decision. that’s authentic to who he is. he’s somebody who says what he believes.
KEILAR: then why doesn’t he explain it more than he has?
BEDINGFIELD: he has not really — he’s not explained it.
KEILAR: this is a serious issue.
BEDINGFIELD: he has not — he has not complained his evolution other than to say he’s changed his mind.
KEILAR: he explained exactly why. he said because of the issues that we’re facing now and as he’s thinking about access to healthcare in his healthcareplan. he said both of those things last night and he’s somebody who always says what he thinks and what he believes. that’s exactly what he did last night.
BEDINGFIELD: and he thinks that that’s going to fly as he’s interviewed here in the coming weeks for his interview as a sufficient answer for people who — let say democratic primary voters who are now aligned with the position that he’s in but have questions about would he’s truly authentic considering his past record when it comes to being more nuanced on the issue. i don’t think any voter has a question about joe biden’s authenticity. they know him hand know who he is and know his values and know when he’s facing a tough decision, when he’s tackling a tough personal decision he’s going to speak candidly about it and that’s what he did last night.
KEILAR: another issue that the campaign has at this point in time which has to do with plagiarism and the climate change plan. there’s been at least — well, there’s been several instances at this point in time in the plan where passages were lifted from other sources without proper attribution. how did that happen?
BEDINGFIELD: ook, it was a staff level error. it was not something that the vice president was aware of, i would say right out of gate, and second — as soon as it was brought to our attention we immediately amended it and added the citations and i think, you know, it’s a bold, significant plan for climate change, to tackle climate change, and — know, as soon as the issue was raised we fixed it.
KEILAR: was telling a reporter that he supported the hyde amendment still, a story published on wednesday a staff level error or something that the former vice president himself is behind?
BEDINGFIELD: the vice president makes his decisions about where he stands on issues? those are his decisions alone?
KEILAR: so that was his answer to that question on wednesday and there was a different answer last night.
BEDINGFIELD: he explained his position on this last night.
KEILAR: all right. kate. thank you so much. kate beddingfield with the biden gain.
BEDINGFIELD: thanks for having me. appreciate it.
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