Mitchell Reports | September 13, 2012
>>> this year over the susan g. komen foundation 's decision to stop funding planned parenthood fingers were pointed at vice president karen handle, who ace republican candidate in georgia opposed planned parenthood funding. kohmen's founder and ceo came here to defend the decision and in a sense absolve handle of blame.
>> well let me just, for the record, tell you karen did not have anything to do with the decision. this was decided at board level and also by our mission.
>> in the days following my interview with brinker handle resigned her position. bringer herself stepped back from her day-to-day leadership of the organization as it regroups. now handle has written her side of the story "planned bullihood" and karen handle joins me now. thank you for joining us.
>> thank you for having me.
>> i very much want your perspective in the days that followed that decision. there was a lot of controversy over exactly what happened. tell us, from your perspective, what your role was and how the kohmen group responded.
>> i was a senior vice president of public policy, brought on board to doe advocacy for the organization and as things played out, komen was looking at how to deliver breast health services in the best, most effective way. unfortunately, what transpired, as you saw the left and planned parenthood bullied up on komen over $700,000 when komen was about breast health . not about politics, planned parenthood made it about politics.
>> but of course, they say that you all made it about politics by going after planned parenthood , that there was, in fact, a decision made because of politics to go after planned parenthood which was being opposed by many groups, conservative republican groups, who believed that planned parenthood 's role in abortion care or providing abortion services, and reproductive services, which is about 3% of what they do, not the mammography, not the breast health , that that was the focus and that this was basically a game plan since you first entered.
>> well, first of all, the issues with planned parenthood had been affecting komen for a decade, long, long before my time. what i find interesting is that it's somehow is political to not want to give grants to planned parenthood but apolitical to force an entity to do the grants. bottom line for komen they were focused on the best interest of women and breast health . planned parenthood does not do mammograms. when i think of breast cancer , most americans think of breast cancer , it not left, it not right, it's just about saving women from this horrible disease and that was komen 's focus.
>> let me focus on the days following that interview with nancy brinker , when the decision was reversed you write in your book that karl rove and others, debbie wasserman schultz pressured brinker to back down on the position that you had taken. now we've gotten in touch with both karl rove and debbie wasserman schultz and spokes people for them say that did not take place, karl rove is denying any involvement, wasserman schultz is saying -- he says mrs. handle's account is not accurate and wasserman schultz says characterization of the call to nancy bringer as threatening could not be further from the truth. i can only relate how it was related to me when events were unfolding. what i can tell you is that, it is without question that komen was on the receiving end of a bullying beat-up by planned parenthood and the left. the organization was receiving bomb threats. we had congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz was weighing in, no question trying to pressure the organization . corporate sponsors were being contacted and told, see what we're doing to komen if you don't stop supporting them, you're next. that's bullying to the absolute definition of it.
>> you claim that you became scapegoated with -- been in touch with komen they say you're entitled to your own recollects, they're moving forward. what way were you scapegoating.
>> the scapegoating came from the liberal media and the left. i singled out for my politics and our friend, nancy brinker , our mutual friend was singled out for her politics. and yet the politics of planned parenthood of their president, when was given a complete pass. you didn't see nancy brinker speaking and vilifying the left, yet 15 seal richards was aqui note speaker for the democratic convention . she's on the campaign trail for barack obama . the organization is giving up yards of $10 million in political ads to support barack obama . she even received a phone call from him. komen has been completely apolitical focused on one thing only, and that's breast cancer . the only people who made this about politics was planned parenthood and the left.
>> but by ending the funding to planned parenthood , you were in effect denying screenings to millions of women who rely on planned parenthood because they cannot afford medical care on their own, private physicians.
>> that is absolute nonsense . komen was realigning those dollars in better, more effective programs so they could do more mammograms, more screenings because planned parenthood does not do mammograms. let's also keep in mind 700,000 in planned parenthood 's $1 billion budget is inconsequence shall. planned parenthood wanted the alignment with komen because it game them legitimacy, credibility, allowed them to wrap themselves in the pink. that's what this was about, and komen has always been focused on its mission and continue to be focused on that mission.
>> if planned parenthood was not doing a useful service, why did komen then reverse ifrts and re-engage planned parenthood ?
>> that's a question you have to ask of komen . what i can tell you, i disagreed with the decision. i felt that komen should have held the line because, again, breast cancer is not about left, it's not about right. komen didn't want to be in the abortion wars. we wanted to be only about breast cancer .
>> why, then, is there a widespread perception that you were pushing komen into politics where it had never been before in decades and decades of laud to her work? when you and others who are very strongly opposed to any kind of abortion rights , that your entry into the fray is what facilitated this move against planned parenthood ?
>> that was the press's spin on it. that did not happen within the organization . the issues with planned parenthood has been affecting the organization for long before my time, a decade at least. i only came into komen in april. are you suggesting that as one person i came in and was able to do all that in one fell swoop? that's ridiculous. they were trying to do the best thing they could with their grants. they wanted to go to direct mammography providers instead of having the middle woman , if you will, involved in it so they could do more for women. they were always realigning those dollars and it was the press with the help of planned parenthood who hijacked this for the sake of politics.
>> well, i think it was also to a great degree the membership, because it's been the women and men who were members of komen who had an impact on the reorganization. we have to it leave it there. thank you for joining us today.
>> thank you for having me. i appreciate it. thank you.
>> we will be right back.