Campaign Week in Review: Clinton Rakes in Endorsements as Huckabee Lashes Out Against His Base

This week on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton wins key endorsements, Mike Huckabee lashes out, and Marco Rubio criticizes Obama's funding of Planned Parenthood.

This week on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton wins key endorsements, Mike Huckabee lashes out, and Marco Rubio criticizes Obama's funding of Planned Parenthood. Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

The presidential candidates started off the new year this week with a renewed focus on reproductive rights: Hillary Clinton won key endorsements from advocacy groups Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lamented that his anti-choice stance was too extreme for evangelicals, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) criticized President Obama’s support of women’s health in a new campaign ad.

Hillary Clinton Wins Key Endorsements from Reproductive Rights Advocacy Organizations

Hillary Clinton received endorsements from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America this week.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the group’s political arm, announced its endorsement of Clinton Thursday, making the former Secretary of State the first candidate to ever receive an official endorsement from the organization during the primary season.

Clinton will formally accept Planned Parenthood’s endorsement during a rally Sunday in Manchester, New Hampshire, which will kick off the group’s electoral season.

The group’s endorsement could prove critical, as it has already gathered more than $20 million to spend on both the presidential and Senate races for the 2016 election cycle. It plans to use that money to influence races in key states such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

“Let’s be clear—reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016. It is unthinkable that our daughters and granddaughters would have fewer rights than my generation did, yet every single GOP candidate for president wants to erase decades of progress for women—pledging to cut access to Planned Parenthood, ban safe, legal abortion, and block health insurance coverage for birth control,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in a statement announcing the group’s endorsement.

“We’re proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States,” Richards added. “No other candidate in our nation’s history has demonstrated such a strong commitment to women or such a clear record on behalf of women’s health and rights.”

Planned Parenthood’s announcement came just days after NARAL Pro-Choice America made its own show of support of Clinton.

In a statement on the decision, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue cited the group’s confidence that Clinton “has what it it takes” to combat the onslaught of attacks on reproductive rights taking place across the country.

“Decisions made in the next several years will determine how women and families fare in the United States for decades to come. We need not just a worthy ally, but a champion with a demonstrated record of fighting for reproductive freedom and economic justice,” Hogue said. “Hillary Clinton is that champion.”

Mike Huckabee Lashes Out at Religious Right for Supporting Other Candidates, Claims They’re “Scared to Death” He’d Get Elected

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lashed out at evangelical leaders during an interview with Todd Starnes, accusing them of not wanting to stop abortion and same-sex marriage in order to continue to fundraise off the issues.

Speaking with Starnes on his Fox News Radio podcast, Huckabee lamented that many evangelical leaders had chosen to back other Republican candidates, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), instead of him.

“A lot of them, quite frankly, I think they’re scared to death that if a guy like me got elected, I would actually do what I said I would do,” said Huckabee of the religious leaders’ snub, adding that he would implement fetal “personhood” policies across the country, utilize the Fifth and 14th Amendments to outlaw abortion, and ignore the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

“A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions,” concluded the presidential hopeful.

But that wasn’t Huckabee’s only attempt to push his support of a dangerous personhood agenda, which could ban abortion and many forms of birth control, this week.

On Tuesday, Huckabee exploited the announcement of President Obama’s planned executive actions on gun control in order to once again push his anti-choice platform into the conversation.

“You say if we can save one life we should. Well, apply 5th & 14th amendments to the unborn & save 4,000 lives a day. #ProLife,” Huckabee tweeted at the president.

Marco Rubio: Obama Fought to Fund Planned Parenthood Instead of Our Troops

Marco Rubio attacked President Obama for fighting to protect Planned Parenthood in a campaign ad released this week, claiming that the president had neglected to fund the military in favor of supporting the reproductive health-care provider.

“Instead of fighting to fund our troops, he fights to fund Planned Parenthood,” Rubio claimed in a 30-second ad titled “Safe,” scheduled to air in key early voting states.

Asserting that Obama has prioritized reproductive health and climate change instead of terrorism, Rubio promised to be a “real commander in chief” should he be elected.

“Marco Rubio’s American dream is a woman’s worst nightmare,” Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Dawn Laguens said in a statement responding to the ad.

“If he had his way, women wouldn’t be able to access safe, legal abortion—even in cases of rape and incest—insurance coverage for birth control under the ACA would be eliminated; and millions would lose access to basic reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood,” Laguens continued, referencing Rubio’s blanket opposition to abortion.   

Although Rubio has previously supported abortion restrictions that did include some exceptions for cases of rape and incest, the Republican senator has faced criticismeven from those within his own party—for repeatedly voicing that he no longer supports such exceptions.