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CNN's Banfield Surprised at 'Very Far Right-Wing' GOP Pro-Life Platform

For CNN's Ashleigh Banfield, complete opposition to abortion equals a "very far right" position, as she insisted on Tuesday about the new Republican Party platform. For context, CNN used the same "far right" label to describe Sikh shooter Wade Michael Page's racist skinhead band.

"[T]he platform, for the most part, was crafted by the very far-right wing of the party and then if you combine that with the timing of all this ugliness that's going on with Mr. Akin...does that besmirch this platform that so many people agree with?" she asked, framing the completely pro-life stance as extreme and possibly damaging to the GOP. 

CNN's political director Mark Preston tempered her assertion. ""[W]e should note, Ashleigh, the fact is that the platform is being written by all corners of the Republican Party and we do see that the more moderate or the more centrist Republicans are weighing in on it as well," he said.

An animated Banfield actually cautioned her audience to prepare for the supposedly shocking news. "[I]t is also worth pointing out that the official party platform that's being voted on today in Tampa – ready? Sitting down? It backs the position of Mr. Akin. Somewhat. Parts of it, anyway," she said of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is under fire for his comments on rape and abortion.

"So the platform opposes abortion. No exceptions. No exceptions. Not for rape, not for incest, and believe it or not, not for the life of the mother as well," Banfield continued. Of course, as she soon added, it's a similar platform to those the GOP put out in the last three presidential election years.

[Video below. Audio here.]

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 21 on CNN Newsroom on 11:07 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: And for all of the outrage – and there's a lot of it – being directed towards Mr. Akin by Republican higher-ups, it is also worth pointing out that the official party platform that's being voted on today in Tampa – ready? Sitting down? It backs the position of Mr. Akin. Somewhat. Parts of it, anyway. It opposes abortion, okay? So the platform opposes abortion. No exceptions. No exceptions. Not for rape, not for incest, and believe it or not, not for the life of the mother as well.

(...)

BANFIELD: Now listen, as tough that language seems to be, it ain't like it came out of the blue. We've had platforms like this in 2000, 2004, 2008, so it's not entirely different. Perhaps just the microscope is on it and the timing couldn't be worse.

MARK PRESTON, CNN political director: The timing couldn't be worse, and you're absolutely right, right now, Ashleigh.

(...)

BANFIELD: Let me read a little bit from the draft that CNN got its hands on yesterday. And I'm going to do this verbatim, alright? "Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."

Look, to a lot of people this is very fair language, this is good language, they want this part of the platform. But at the same time, the platform, for the most part, was crafted by the very far-right wing of the party and then if you combine that with the timing of all this ugliness that's going on with Mr. Akin, and he admits that this was ugliness, I'm not taking sides here. He says that it was a mistake, and the mistake is getting all the headlines  – does that besmirch this platform that so many people agree with?

PRESTON: Well, we should be – we should note, Ashleigh, the fact is that the platform is being written by all corners of the Republican Party and we do see that the more moderate or the more centrist Republicans are weighing in on it as well. In fact, they just tried to, and it just failed, an effort to recognize civil unions for same-sex marriage and that went down.

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center