Candidates on Robert Dear Attack: Dems Embrace PP, GOP Blames Crazy

Robert Dear's attack on a Planned Parenthood branch in Colorado Springs this past Friday, which killed three people and injured nine others, instantly became one of the nation's biggest news stories.

So big that presidential candidates were put in the position of offering their take on the horrific crime.

But due to the theory that Dear acted for political reasons connected to abortion (he reportedly made a reference to "body parts" as he was taken into custody), Democratic hopefuls were more motivated to respond quickly.

Republicans, meanwhile, took their time — and when they spoke out, they did their best to distance Dear's actions from the anti-abortion movement.

Among the earliest to weigh in was Hillary Clinton, who used the hashtag @StandWithPP — a reference to Planned Parenthood....

...and earlier this morning, she tweeted a video on the same theme.

Bernie Sanders also used Twitter to make his views known.

Here's his statement following the shootings....

...and another tweet synopsizing his opinions:

And Republicans? 

Well, Think Progress pointed out that none of the GOP candidates commented on the events in the ten hours after the first shots rang out.

That changed on Saturday morning, when Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted this:

When questioned about the shooting in Iowa over the weekend, however, Cruz objected to the “vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those who are pro-life.”

Cruz also maintained that Dear "was registered to vote as a woman" — info uncovered by the right-wing website The Gateway Pundit that may or may not be a typographical error. He added, “The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life moment when at this point there is very little evidence to suggest that."

In his view, "I would call it a murder. It was a multiple murder of what appears to be a deranged individual. And it was horrific, it was evil and we will find out more about the facts, but I don’t think we should jump to conclusions.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a different tack, calling the assault "domestic terrorism" in a conversation with CNN seen here.

For his part, Ben Carson dubbed the incident a "hate crime" in an ABC interview, but couched it as "extremism" in general rather than anything specifically tied to the anti-abortion movement.

Here's that clip.

On Fox News, Carly Fiorina called the shootings a tragedy and characterized Dear as "deranged." However, she also ID'd him as a "protester" and saved some of her nastiest words for liberals seeking to make hay out of the subject.

“This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message," she said. "The vast majority of Americans agree what Planned Parenthood is doing is wrong.”

Here's that clip.

And Donald Trump? He called Dear a "maniac" but also stressed his "tremendous dislike" of Planned Parenthood as an organization.

Clearly, this loss of life hasn't brought these political opposites together.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

Latest Stories