Ted Cruz Condemns 'Vicious Rhetoric On The Left' In The Wake Of Planned Parenthood Attack

Mike Bessler

Despite mounting circumstantial evidence suggesting that last week's attack on a Colorado Springs, Colorado, Planned Parenthood was at least partially motivated by political sentiments, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz is pushing back on assertions that the shooter was influenced by a rising tide of anti-abortion rhetoric. The Huffington Post reports that Texas senator spoke with reporters following a campaign event in Newton, Iowa, on Sunday, suggesting that America's political left is presently more at fault with regard to the fallout from the Planned Parenthood attack.

"I would call it a murder," Ted Cruz said when asked if the attack on the Planned Parenthood facility should be regarded as an act of domestic terrorism. "It was a multiple murder of what appears to be a deranged individual. And it was horrific, it was evil and we will find out more about the facts, but I don't think we should jump to conclusions."

According to police, 57 year-old Robert Lewis Dear stormed the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility on November 27, wounding nine people and killing three, including a police officer. CNN notes that Dear reportedly complained about "baby parts" during the ordeal and told investigators that he has "anti-abortion and anti-government views." Authorities have not confirmed that Dear's political opinions served as a motive for the attack.

Indeed, Senator Cruz even mused that Robert Dear might have been well on the other side of the American political spectrum, suggesting that the rampage is not so easily categorized or explained away.

"We know that he was a man who was registered to vote as a woman," Cruz said of the alleged attacker's voter registration. "The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life moment when at this point there is very little evidence to suggest that."

In his comments, Cruz also criticized "vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those who are pro-life" and (ostensibly) joked that Robert Dear could be a "transgendered leftist activist."

On Saturday, Senator Cruz became the first GOP candidate to publicly address the incident, describing the shootings as "unacceptable, horrific and wrong." Nevertheless, Cruz still has no affection for Planned Parenthood as an institution, having previously described the organization as an "criminal enterprise."

Cruz has been at the forefront of an ongoing effort by congressional Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood ever since the release of a series of controversial videos by an anti-abortion group over the summer. In addition to his assertion that no further taxpayer funds should be provided to the organization, Ted Cruz has also vowed to launch a criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood.

"If I'm elected president, let me tell you about my first day in office. The first thing I intend to do is to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama," Ted Cruz said in his closing statement at the Republican debate in August. "The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations."

The attempt by Ted Cruz to remain steadfast in his convictions while striking a tone that is diplomatic and conciliatory might well be resonating with voters as the senator appears to be gaining ground against GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. In a recent Quinnipac poll of Iowa Republicans, Ted Cruz has pulled within two points of Trump. The Iowa Caucuses will be held on February 1, 2016.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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