Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Updated August 4, 2004 at 1:15 pm

Gays, Guns and Abortion with Republican U. S. Senate candidate finalist Dr. Andrea Grubb Barthwell, as heard and seen by State Central Committee member Kirk Dillard.

State Senator Kirk Dillard: …She [Dr. Andrea Grubb Barthwell] was somebody who I think we were all pleasantly surprised at how overwhelming she was in our meeting because most of us—

Jeff Berkowitz: In your meeting today [Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004].

Dillard: Correct

Berkowitz: Which lasted with her [Barthwell] for about how long?

Dillard: Hmmm, she was probably up there for 15-20 minutes. She was one of the more intriguing candidates that we had and people didn’t know where she stood on a lot of issues so they wanted to quiz her.

Berkowitz: Did they find out?

Dillard: Hmmm. I’d say 80 % of the way. But she is coming back. We are going to inquire of her much more deeply.

Berkowitz: Is she pro-choice on the issue of abortion?

Dillard: It was- it is hard to say. The way the question was put to her and I am sophisticated enough to know that if you answer “I am for parental notice of abortion and a ban on partial birth abortion,” and you get off of it at that point in time- that doesn’t tell you whether they are pro-life or not.

Berkowitz: Is that what she said? She was for a ban on partial birth abortion and she favored parental notice? [Of course, this also does not get at the issue of whether the ban would include an exception for the life and health of the mother, which is the kind of ban that Democratic U. S. Senate candidate Barack Obama supports]

Dillard: Correct. And then they went on—

Berkowitz: She went on to other things?

Dillard: Right. [They asked] do you support the President’s positions on a whole host of issues? And, it was- I left a little unclear as to where she was on the issue of abortion.

Berkowitz: Nobody asked her if she would, say, support the overturning of Roe v. Wade?

Dillard: No one asked her that question but I will bet you she will be asked that one the next time she comes before the [State Central] Committee?

Berkowitz: Would you speculate that her answer is that she does not favor overturning Roe v. Wade?

Dillard: I don’t know. I just don’t know because you pick up things in the media and until you meet the person and discuss with them- sometimes they turn out to be very different than they are stereotyped in the media.

Berkowitz: But, if it turns out that she is not in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, that is, that she supports- if she does say that she supports, as many people say- a woman’s right to choose and they want to allow abortion to continue to be legal- which it is in most cases in this country—what would that do to her candidacy as far as you are concerned.

Dillard: It probably hurts it a little bit and the primary reason is back in March [2004], 97% of the Republicans who voted in the Primary election voted for a candidate that was Pro-Life on the issue of abortion and was fairly conservative—so I need to have as a representative of these folks some cognizance of the fact that 90% [sic] of the Republican Primary voters voted for somebody who was Pro-Life on the issue of abortion.
Dillard: …she [Dr. Barthwell] said she supports marriage being between a male and a female, a man and a woman…we didn’t get into the Constitutional Amendment…

Berkowitz: So, she didn’t say whether she might support civil unions, for instance…

Dillard: we didn’t get into that level of specificity. That’s why she is coming back.

Berkowitz: Would that be important to you if, say, she favors civil unions and say, hypothetically, she supports legislation that would ban discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation?

Dillard: Hmmm. It’s important, but the big one for me is, you know, does she believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman. And, I would have to listen to her on civil unions but I didn’t get the impression that she was for civil unions, either.
Dillard: …She said she is pro 2nd Amendment and she hunts herself and has always hunted through-out her life.

Berkowitz: But, I assume that means she supports the Brady Bill and background checks and so forth?

Dillard: Hmmm. That I don’t know- we didn’t get into level of specificity- but again they said- Do you support the policies of the Bush administration, and she said yes, but she was far more pro 2nd Amendment than one might be led to believe, including the fact that she hunts herself.

Berkowitz: The federal ban on assault weapons is up for renewal. It appears that although the President says he favor it [the assault weapon ban], the Congress- the Republican Majority in Congress will not raise that- will not renew it [the assault weapon ban]. Did she say where she stood on that issue?
Dillard: No, but again, she repeated that she supports the President on these issues