When George Stephanopolous asked Mitt Romney last month whether he’d support a state ban on contraception, the candidate reacted with incredulity.
Now, the sudden eruption of a partisan battle over contraception and religious freedom this month has prompted some conservatives to claim the question was a set-up from a reporter who still sometimes provokes suspicion for his former career as a Democratic operative.
“In light of the recent religious liberties assault from the White House, it’s only natural to question former Clinton White House advisor and ‘journalist’ George Stephanopoulos’ random question on contraception during the GOP debates weeks before the policy was announced,” said Ric Grenell, a former Bush administration official who was spokesman for the United States Mission to the United Nations, and who now supports Mitt Romney.
BuzzFeed asked an ABC official about the suggestion that Stephanopolous had a heads-up about a coming Obama Administration rule.
“He definitely didn’t know about it in advance,” the ABC source said. “He had no idea that was coming.”
UPDATE: In fact, ABC’s Jake Tapper had pressed Rick Santorum on the question of state birth control regulation in early January, which offers some context for Stephanopolous’s question.
- The suspect wanted for killing 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day has confessed to the shooting, Istanbul's governor said
- At least 40 Democratic lawmakers are boycotting Donald Trump's inauguration after the president-elect criticized civil rights leader John Lewis.
- Prime Minister Theresa May will set out a "hard Brexit" plan during a speech about Britain leaving the European Union.
- The police report featuring Kim Kardashian West's first-hand account of the Paris robbery has been released.