Spilling The Bean On Abortion

Amy Davidson weighs in on the veep candidates' responses to Raddatz's abortion question: whether those who believe in its legality should "be worried":

The answer, in effect, is yes, they should worry. This was a strong exchange for the Obama-Biden ticket, more perhaps than for Biden personally. He won this debate … while being slightly more disorganized here than in his other answers. But it also showed how extreme the Republican Party’s position on abortion rights now is.

John McCormack asked Obama spokesmen about Ryan's claim that Obama supports abortion "without restriction and with taxpayer funding":

In the spin room following the debate, I asked top Obama officials, as well as Planned Parenthood chief Cecille Richards, if Obama's position on abortion is as extreme as what Ryan claimed. The Obama campaign denied the president favored abortion without restriction, but top Obama officials Jim Messina, Stephanie Cutter, and David Axelrod could not name a single restriction the president supports.

Ryan's "with taxpayer funding" line is highly misleading; the federal government will only provide coverage in cases of rape, incest or maternal endangerment. Irin Cameron thinks that Biden drove a wedge between Romney and Ryan on the issue:

[W]e finally got to hear how Ryan the anti-abortion absolutist reconciles being part of a ticket that, even before Romney disavowed anti-abortion legislation, took a completely different view from him on abortion. “All I’m saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn’t change the definition of life,” he said. “That’s a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

It was the most telling line of the night — Ryan preserving his own anti-abortion bona fides no matter what kind of “moderation” Romney tacks to in the coming weeks to avoid scaring female voters. It was also him saying that he has his own principles, and then he has the policies that Romney thinks will win, and those are very different things — ones he’s willing to compromise to win, at least rhetorically. What happens they get in the door, if they do, is another matter.

Sarah Posner, meanwhile, reflects on the candidates' responses Raddatz's question on how their shared Catholic faith informs their policies:

Biden pointed out that he personally agrees with the Church on abortion but doesn't want to impose his religious beliefs on others. Which is, of course, the heart of the answer to both the abortion and contraception questions. Raddatz gave both men the chance to discuss their faith. Ryan pointed out that faith informs everything he does; Biden took pains to highlight that as important as his faith is to him, he wouldn't use it to force others to adhere to his beliefs. And as it happens, most Catholic voters don't really rate abortion and contraception at the top of their list of concerns.