Supporters Noticing:Emmer Won’t Answer on Abortion – Again

Tom Emmer at final TPT debate refuses to answer question about abortion

First the press, and now others are noticing Republican candidate for Governor Tom Emmer won’t answer on abortion.

The first clip is from Almanac on October 29, 2010, Cathy Wurzer gives him three chances and reminds him he sponsored five antiabortion bills last session.

At 1:30 Minnesota Public Radio’s Gary Eichten asks Emmer pretty much the same questions at the Fitzgerald Theater debate on 10/31/10.

At 3:00, after the Fitzerald debate, I talked to an Emmer supporter on the left, and a Horner supporter on the right. They both said he didn’t answer the question. Representative Tom Emmer doesn’t think this election is about abortion, he thinks it’s about jobs and the economy. But for some people, it is.

Transcript and captioned video

Emmer Won’t Answer: from Oct. 31 MPR and Oct. 29 TPT debate’”

FROM OCTOBER 29 TPT DEBATE

Cathy Wurzer: Representative Emmer, do you expect to introduce any abortion-related bills during your tenure if you were elected Governor?

Tom Emmer: You know what Cathy, we had this conversation when I was here back in August. I have a very clear position on these issues

Cathy Wurzer: You were endorsed by the MCCL.

Tom Emmer: Sure, but my campaign is all about getting government back in proper –

Cathy Wurzer: I understand,

Tom Emmer: – in –

Cathy Wurzer: but there are people who vote on abortion issues.

Tom Emmer: Well, that’s great,

Cathy Wurzer: They, they go and they are supportive, they want to know who they’re voting for.

Tom Emmer: That’s great, and like I said, I’ve got a history, I’ve got a record on those issues, it’s clear. But this campaign is about the economy and jobs. That’s what we have to do for the state of Minnesota going forward. And I’m gonna stick to it.

Cathy Wurzer: So are you saying this is not an important issue then?

Tom Emmer: I’m sure it’s important, to many people.

Cathy Wurzer: Because you co-sponsored five anti-abortion related bills last session.

Tom Emmer: It’s it’s very –
Cathy Wurzer: So it must be important to you.

Tom Emmer: It’s important to many people, but again this is about the economy and jobs.

Cathy Wurzer: I understand that –

Tom Emmer: We gotta get people working again in the state of Minnesota.

Cathy Wurzer: – and in 28 other debates we talked about the economy and jobs. We’re asking about social issues.

Tom Emmer: Right.

Cathy Wurzer: So the last, I’m going to ask you this one more time. Do you expect to introduce any (Emmer inaudible at :55) abortion-related bills during your tenure?

Tom Emmer: Cathy, here’s the thing. Let’s stick to the issues that unify us, this

Cathy Wurzer: I,

Tom Emmer: is an issue that divides us.

Cathy Wurzer: – you know, I understand that.

Tom Emmer: I think it’s time that we be unified, and the one thing that’s gonna unify us is getting our economy moving again, getting Minnesota, Minnesotans good quality jobs, and getting ‘em workin again.

Cathy Wurzer: Okay.

Tom Emmer: Yeah. Let’s stick with that.

Cathy Wurzer: So you’re not gonna go answer the question.

FROM OCTOBER 31 MPR DEBATE, BEGIN 1:13

Gary Eichten: I know, I know you gentlemen have spent all of these debates, almost all of the debates talking about the budget issue. And appropriately so, it’s the big one. But back to those social issues, which I know, Mr. Emmer, you’d rather not talk about and you’d – it just hasn’t come up often. But there are folks who are really interested in where you’re gonna stand on the social issues, and let me start with you Tom Emmer if I may. Will you back tighter restrictions on abortions in the state of Minnesota?

Tom Emmer: You know what, Gary, I’ve never said I won’t talk about it. What I’ve said is, y’know I’m the only pro-life candidate up here (applause, cheers) but that’s not the issue.

Gary Eichten: Well that’s –

Tom Emmer: That is not an issue. What I have said, regularly, every time these issues are brought up, Gary, is we’ve gotta talk about the things that unite us.

Gary Eichten: Well we have been

Tom Emmer: Because these issues:

Gary Eichten: Yeah, but we have been talking about that, and I think it’s fair to say, if you’re elected Governor, would you support, push for tighter restrictions?

Tom Emmer: I don’t think it is at this point, Gary. I think what we’re talking about in this state is jobs and the economy. And if we keep focusing or trying to distract our attention to things that just slow us down and divide us, we’re not gonna do the things that we have to upfront, Gary. This election

Gary Eichten: Well, yet the Legislature sends you a bill (Emmer, inaudible) which would tighten restrictions, or relax restrictions on abortion, would you sign it or veto it?

Tom Emmer: I, I answered the question. I’ve got a very clear record of where I stand when it comes to pro-life. I’m gonna be a jobs and economy guy if I’m elected to the Governor’s office. (applause, cheers)

POST-DEBATE AUDIENCE COMMENTS, 02:43

Audience member 1: …today, I find Tom Emmer to be far too much to the right. He just has an inability to answer questions directly. So I heard more of the evasiveness and the unwillingness to just give straight answers on social issues.

The UpTake: What did you think of his abortion answer?

Audience member 1: He didn’t GIVE an answer on abortion. And that’s the problem. He’s been asked that question now a couple of times. He says “Well I wanna talk about jobs.” Okay, well we’ve had more than 20 debates. We’ve talked about jobs. People want to know where you stand. And if you are either too afraid to give a direct answer, or you think that it’s politically unwise to give a direct answer, that’s not leadership and that’s not the Governor I’m gonna vote for. 03:17

The UpTake: What did you think of his abortion answer? Are you pro-life?

Audience member 2: I am pro-life.

The UpTake: Do you think it was strong enough? Or was he right in saying let’s unite instead of talk about that?

Audience member 2: Well, I guess I agree with (gestures to audience member 1) him

Audience member 1: (gives name, inaudible)

Audience member 2: Thank you (audience member 1 laughs) – in that respect that I don’t believe he really gave an answer. I think from the standpoint of politically unwise at this point in Minnesota, I understand that might have been the idea. But I think that, I think you do have to say what you feel. What I DO believe from that standpoint though is, it’s basically a federal law. I don’t know that on the state end that really too much can be changed in it. And yet it’s such a partisan issue and so many people on the left AND the right vote one issue.

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