All he was really going for here, I think, was an inoffensive “let’s come together” pitch in the aftermath of a culture-war flashpoint (his campaign is explicitly devoted to “healing” America) and instead he managed to offend the social-conservative leaders whom he’s counting on to help him win Iowa. Breitbart has a long list of disgruntled leaders of pro-life orgs wondering which part of their plea to stop the killing of children in the womb is “hateful” and should be “toned down.”

This is exactly the sort of mistake that a political pro like Cruz would never make. When the left is telling the right that it’s guilty of terrorism for opposing abortion because some loopy mountain-man crank started shooting inside a Planned Parenthood, that’s not a moment for “healing.” That’s a moment for defending your own side unapologetically.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of American, that has 700 chapters on college campuses around the country, says:

“Did Carson take his talking points from Planned Parenthood? He completely missed the mark, casting suspicion on pro-lifers who had nothing to do with this tragedy and only furthering the deceitful narrative that the abortion industry has already laid out in the media. Compassion and love, not violence, are at the heart of the pro-life movement and motivate us to protect life in its stages and we extend that same love and compassion to the victims and their families of this horrible tragedy.”

The Grande Dame of the pro-life movement, Judie Brown of American Life Leagues, said, “Outrageous. What is Carson missing in all this other than a known dysfunctional man with a history of undependable behavior. What did any of us say to provoke that? Carson is dead wrong, period.”

More from Life News, which notes that Carson also recently called the Terri Schiavo standoff 10 years ago “much ado about nothing.” This comes from contributor Ryan Bomberger:

An “intelligent” and “mature” approach to Face The Nation’s John Dickerson’s question would have been to respond: “Please give me an example of hateful rhetoric from any leading prolife organization or leader. Taking innocent human life, whether in or out of the womb, is never a pro-life position.”

Pro-abortion activists consider any scientifically, historically, or statistically accurate information about the violence of abortion to be ‘hateful rhetoric’. Facts are not hate speech, Dr. Carson. Exposing the inner-workings of Planned Parenthood in an undercover investigation isn’t “hateful rhetoric”; it enables illuminating and civil discussion about inhumane barbarity.

Newsflash! We are not unified over the destruction of innocent unborn human life. I can’t imagine how Dr. Carson would characterize the efforts of Frederick Douglass or Harriet Beecher Stowe in their relentless, yet peaceful, attacks on the dehumanizing institution of slavery. Division is healthy, especially when it delineates right from wrong. The Prolife movement strives passionately, and peacefully, to educate the American public about abortion because mainstream media, including Face the Nation and certain presidential candidates, won’t.

Exit question for Carson fans: Is this a big deal or not? Trump fans will say “yes” and Cruz fans will say “heck yes” because they’re both invested in this guy crashing and burning in Iowa (although Trump fans, if they’re smart, should want Carson to stick around to divide the social-con base with Cruz), but I want to know from people who like Carson already. This isn’t Carson seriously arguing that pro-lifers are “hateful” as much as it is him mindlessly accepting Dickerson’s premise so that he can pivot to the point he wants to make about reconciliation. Do good-ish intentions count for anything?