A misreported line from Mike Huckabee’s speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting is causing a stir on Twitter, and has already drawn condemnation from the White House.
During a portion of his speech pushing back against Democrats’ claims of a Republican “war on women,” Huckabee argued that Democrats are the ones demeaning women with legislation regarding contraception. The quotation in full:
“Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them, it’s a war for them. If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.”
NBC News’s Kasie Hunt and CNN’s Dana Bash, and others such as the Huffington Post’s Sabrina Siddiqui, reported that Huckabee had said women couldn’t control their libidos, rather than saying that was how Democrats viewed women:
At Rnc meeting @MikeHuckabee just said fed govt shouldn’t help women w who can’t control their libido w birth control.— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 23, 2014
Huckabee: Women “helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them … birth control because they cannot control their libido”— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) January 23, 2014
During Thursday’s White House press briefing, shortly after Huckabee’s speech, Hunt’s misleading tweet was read to press secretary Jay Carney, who called the comments “offensive.” Within the hour, both CNN and MSNBC had already reported on Huckabee’s line on the air.
After text of the speech emerged and revealed that Bash and Hunt misreported the line, they took to Twitter to try to clarify their statements:
To be clear: Huck says DEMS blv “helpless without Uncle Sugar” giving them birth control because “they cannot control their libido”— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) January 23, 2014
More huck: dems insult women thinking theyre”helpless w/out Uncle Sugar” giving rx for birth control “b/c they cannot control their libido”— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 23, 2014
2b clear @MikeHuckabee said DEMS insult women thinking theyre helpless giving rx for birth control “b/c they cannot control their libido”— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 23, 2014
UPDATE: Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz retweeted Hunt’s initial misleading tweet about Hunt’s comments: