NBC's "Meet The Press"

Live From Roanoke! Jim Gilmore And Mark Warner In Senate Debate Tonight

We had some comments earlier this week on the vice presidential debate, such as posing questions we'd like to hear asked. We only had two. Alas, neither were asked. In just a few hours, live at 7:00 from Roanoke's new Taubman Museum, former governors Jim Gilmore, the Republican nominee, and Mark Warner, the Democrat nominee, will have their only live televised statewide debate in their campaign for Virginia's open U.S. Senate seat. (George Allen and Jim Webb even debated on NBC's Meet The Press.) It will be worth watching. Record it if you must. In some areas it will be replayed later and C-SPAN is televising it and may repeat it as well. Others are Web streaming it.

Since Jim Gilmore has repeatedly asked for several live debates, as is the Virginia tradition, and since Mark Warner bailed out of one and only agreed to this one late in the game, we'd like to hear any one of these questions to Mr. Warner:

1. Mr. Warner, you claimed at the time, and still do, that your record setting tax increase was necessary because you had cut state government spending as far you could and needed the state revenue to keep the budget in balance. If so, why does the State Department of Planning and Budget Web site (click here) show that state spending under your administration went from $12.1 billion in Fiscal Year '03 general fund spending to $12.4 billion in FY '04 and then to $13.8 billion in FY '05. What exactly did you cut before you burdened Virginia's families with higher taxes?

2. If you tax increases left Virginia in such great fiscal shape, why has Governor Tim Kaine felt it necessary to try to raise taxes still more every year since?

3. Mr. Warner, when you were governor, you vetoed a bill to allow off shore drilling in Virginia. Now you say you are for it. Why should we believe you are for meaningful off shore drilling that will create thousands of jobs and bring in millions in revenue for Virginia?

4. Mr. Warner, you say you are a "moderate" who is willing to reach out and be bi-partisan. Yet you have not shown one area of disagreement with Barack Obama, who was listed as the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate by the non-partisan National Journal (more liberal, even, than the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont). Please list some major policies where you disagree with Barack Obama and agree with John McCain.

5. To both: What year was Franklin Roosevelt elected president and when did he first go on television?

We're not expecting any of the questions to be asked, but the candidates are welcome to come here and respond.

Stations Showing The Debate Live Tonight Charlottesville: WVIR 29 NBC Johnson City, Tenn.: WJHL 11 CBS Harrisonburg: WHSV 3 ABC Norfolk: WVBT 43 Fox Norfolk: WHRO 15 PBS Richmond: WWBT 12 NBC

Richmond: WTVR Digital 6.2 CBS (Comcast Channel 206) Roanoke: WBRA PBS Roanoke: WSLS 10 NBC  National: C-SPAN Streaming live online at News8.net Streaming live online at NBC4.com

 Streaming live online at WTVR.com

Streaming live online at WJLA.com

Stations Re-Broadcasting The Debate Washington, D.C.: News Channel 8 at 11:00 p.m. Friday Washington, D.C.: WRC 4 NBC at 7:00 a.m. Sunday

"Pope" Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi leads a hard life. Look at all she has to do day-in, day-out: She's the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. That's tough enough. But she's just published a book (that's sold a whopping 4,000 copies); she's trying to "save the world" — her actual quote; and reassure jittery convention delegates that her choice for president, Senator Barack Obama, really doesn't have lousy poll numbers (a negative Biden bounce per today's Gallup Poll, an unprecedented decline after naming a running mate and after the first night of a convention). After all, she believes Obama was chosen by God Himself to rescue the world — from America. Adding to that slug of theology, Speaker Pelosi has added the responsibilities of Pope to her gig. On Sunday's "Meet The Press" on NBC, she responded to a Tom Brokow question about when life begins by declaring 2,000 years of Church teaching wrong. Seriously. (See it here, on YouTube.) 

Okay, I'm not being straight up. The fact is, to be completely honest . . . she out-and-out lied!

Ms. Pelosi, who was raised Catholic, had the Everest-sized chutzpah to say the Catholic Church is not clear on its teaching of when life begins and that it has lacked clarity since its beginning. She implied that it even accepts cases of elective abortion. Then she said she had "researched" the issue for years and certain Church doctors (i.e., philosophers) had declared life begins three months after conception. Ms. Pelosi (contact here) considers herself a practicing Catholic. She needs to practice harder. As in Michael Phelps hard.

Rebukes were swift, sure and sharp. Chief among them, His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York. Today he said, in part (click here to read in full):

Anyone who dares to defend that they (the unborn) may be legitimately killed because another human being "chooses" to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name. (Emphasis added.)

Yesterday, His Eminence, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committees on Pro-Life Activities and Doctrines, respectively, issued a joint statement. It said, in part (click here to read in full):

In the course of a "Meet the Press" interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion. 

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (No. 2271) (Emphasis added.)

The Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Donald Wurhl, issued a statement which reads in part (read it in full, here):

We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: the current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago. The Catechism reads: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception . . . Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (Catechism, 2270-2271)

The Catechism goes on to quote the Didache, a treatise that dates to the first century: "'You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.'"

Never before has any Catholic politician, much less one in such high authority, been so heavily rebuked by so many Church authorities so quickly and universally, for such a blatant, purposeful misrepresentation of Church teaching. In the past, several bishops have said they would withhold Holy Communion from Catholic lawmakers who supported abortion on demand. However, those politicians never disputed Church teaching. Rather, they subjugated their proclaimed agreement with the Church to the perceived law of the land (i.e., "our hands are tied"). Pelosi has grossly surpassed this already grievous miscalculation by proclaiming her views equal to Church teaching.

In addition, the Archbishop of San Francisco, George Niederauer, of Pelosi's home diocese, published the USCCB statement on the archdiocese's Web site and will publish his personal response this Friday in the archdiocese's weekly, Catholic San Francisco. (Excellent reporting on all this is at American Papist.) So, Pelosi clearly has it coming from all corners, and justifiably so. Her comments, intended to minimize the authority of the Church and — worse — relegate it to nothing more than a subjective think tank with no more understanding of Church teaching than a hack who's done "some research" is appalling and ranks near blasphemy and sacrilege. 

Cardinal Egan said it best: She is not deserving of her position of leadership. Neither, we add, are any of those who agree with — or apologize for — her. If Speaker Pelosi firmly believes her secularized version of Catholicism is correct, she needs to start her own denomination. No one is stopping her. Then, she can wear a papal hat of her own and make any proclamation based on her "research" she wants.