We criticize MSNBC enough for its naked advocacy on behalf of the Democrats and Barack Obama, so in all fairness, we should note that they do have limits … and Alan Grayson apparently found them. Contessa Brewer engages Grayson on his disgraceful, dishonest “Taliban Dan” smear and — to her credit — refuses to let him off the hook for it. At one point, Grayson accuses Brewer of distracting attention from women’s issues, but Brewer fires back and tells Grayson that he approved the ad and its own off-message smears and out-of-context quotes. If Grayson was serious about the issues, Brewer asks, why not just stick to the issues rather than issue an ad rated “false” by Factcheck?
It’s worth noting that some of the allegations in the ad that Grayson repeats here are also challenged by Factcheck in its review of the ad:
As for Webster’s position on abortion, it’s true that he would prevent women from obtaining abortions even when the pregnancies result from rape, just as the ad says. And that goes for incest as well. He has been endorsed by the Republican National Coalition for Life, which states: “[W]e have listed the Republican Congressional Candidates whose responses to the RNC/Life Questionnaire indicate they are faithfully pro-life, and do not justify abortion for babies who are conceived through rape or incest, have a handicap, or a genetic defect.” When asked directly by a local television reporter whether he would support an abortion for a woman who became pregnant as a result of rape, Webster said “that’s not the issue we’re talking about” and evaded the question. Grayson’s campaign posted that clip on YouTube.
But the ad’s claim that Webster would “deny battered women … the right to divorce their abusers” is a distortion. The claim is based on legislation he sponsored in the Florida House of Representatives 20 years ago. The bill, HB 1585, would have allowed Florida residents the option of a “covenant marriage,” which would limit their divorce rights. Under the proposal, couples could dissolve a covenant marriage only in cases of adultery. But that would not have applied to anyone who did not choose to enter a covenant marriage. The legislation died in committee in June 1990. Webster has not advocated for covenant marriages as a congressional candidate.
If Grayson really wanted to air these issues, Brewer repeatedly points out towards the end of the interview, Grayson would have just stuck to the actual record. Instead, Grayson equated Webster to terrorists who murder people and “throw acid in girls’ faces,” as Brewer says. That’s not an honest approach to women’s issues; it’s a man exploiting women’s issues in order to lie and smear his opponent. Kudos to Brewer for knowing the difference and not retreating from it.