Martin Bashir | October 11, 2012
>>> it's the thursday ahead of the vp debate, and it's time to play of what is the romney /ryan position on abortion? it would be hilarious if there wasn't so much at stake. a day after mitt romney told the des moines register that he would not pursue any abortion-related legislation as president, he told reporters in ohio that he would, in fact, take direct aim at women 's health care choices and access.
>> i think i said time and again i'm a pro-life candidate, i'll be a pro-life president. the actions i'll take immediately are to remove funding for planned parenthood .
>> for the president, it was a chance to cast doubt on his rival's new halloween mask of mainstream mitt.
>> this is another example of governor romney hiding positions he's been campaigning on for a year and a half.
>> i'm joined now from danville, kentucky, by msnbc's krystal ball, co-host of "the cycle" and cecile richards , president of planned parenthood . cecile, if i might start with you, mitt romney 's been doing his women 's choice gymnastics again. one minute he's perfectly fine with the status quo, the next he's gunning for women 's rights and choice like a true identify l -- ideologue. what do you believe his true intentions are?
>> we know exactly what they are. mitt romney has been running for six years for president and he has said he's going to overturn roe if he gets a chance and the next president will appoint a crucial justice to the supreme court . he said he's going to get rid of planned parenthood . we serve 3 million folks every year with affordable preventative health care and he wants to end the entire national family planning program which is a bipartisan program that serves 5 million folks every year with preventative care , including cancer screenings. that's why women can't vote for him.
>> krystal -- great crowd behind you. paul ryan does not want abortion in any cases whatsoever. i'm not sure what mitt romney believes. how can women give him their vote when they're not sure if they'll also be handing over control of their own bodies? i mean, does this perhaps explain the president's double digit lead in our new poll of swing states ?
>> yeah, i think it has been really critical, and one of the things that's been so surprising in this election is how much we have been talking about and how much women 's health issues have mattered in this election. they have made a huge difference, and when we're not talking about them, we see that gender gap starting to close. as you point out, paul ryan is as far to the right as you can possibly be, as extreme as you possibly can be on a woman's right to choose. he's standing with todd akin to redefine rape in the house. he's in favor, as mitt romney is, in favor of defunding planned parenthood . he's in favor of personhood legislation as is mitt romney . i don't think there's any question, despite what they say and any rhetorical moves they might make, i don't think there's any question where they truly stand, and cecile pointed to something very important that we need to keep in mind. even if you don't think mitt romney himself would push pro-life legislation as president, he sure as heck is going to nominate an anti- roe v. wade justice to the supreme court and could undo that progress we've had for decades. so that is something people need to not forget when they listen to the spin from the romney /ryan campaign.
>> to crystal's point, vice president joe biden sponsored the violence against women act , an act he wanted reauthorized and strengthened, an act that republicans have prevent eed from passing, and yet there we have is paul ryan and he co-sponsored two pieces of legislation with todd akin that seeks to define rape in subdivisions, one of which they term forcible. there couldn't be a greater difference between these two on the stage tonight, could there?
>> i absolutely agree. not only that, i think there couldn't be a bigger difference between these two tickets. president obama has done more to expand women 's health care access than any president in my lifetime, and the incredible thing is, this isn't just about roe, this is about literally ending birth control access for women . one of the things that paul ryan has pledged to do and now mr. romney as well is day one get rid of insurance coverage for birth control for women . you know, 99% of women rely on birth control . this isn't a social issue for women , it's a basic economic issue. it's incredible to have someone running for president who is so out of touch with what women need.
>> thank you both. you're being cheered by the crowd and cheered back here in new