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Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Oct. 19 and discussed several topics, including abortion.
The segment with Abrams’ full remarks lasted more than eight minutes and touched on several subjects besides abortion, including rising housing, health care and education costs.
Stacey Abrams, a Democrat hoping to unseat Georgia’s incumbent Republican governor, Brian Kemp, appeared for an interview on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" and discussed several topics — including whether the economy factors into a person’s decision to pursue an abortion.
Her comments spread online as some social media users claimed that Abrams said abortions could solve problems created by inflation-driven price increases. The Republican National Committee tweeted a one-minute clip of Abrams’ interview and said, "Stacey Abrams says unrestricted abortion-on-demand can help solve inflation: ‘Having children is why you’re worried about your price for gas. It’s why you’re concerned about how much food costs.’"
Given that abortion and inflation have become key issues in the 2022 midterm elections, we wanted to look more closely at Abrams’ full comments and show them in context for voters to read and consider.
We periodically use our In Context feature to unpack statements that are presented as sound bites on TV and social media. Most recently, we laid out what Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, a Republican, said about pregnancies that are the result of rape being viewed as " inconveniences" in the context of abortion following a debate attack line from U.S. Rep Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.
Abrams’ full conversation on "Morning Joe" lasted more than eight minutes.
Just before the hosts interviewed Abrams, they discussed former President Barack Obama’s remarks on the political podcast "Pod Save America." On that show, Obama said that Democrats sometimes focus on politically correct phraseology instead of taking an approach that’s "a little more real" and "grounded" and might more effectively counteract conservative narratives.
"Democrats can be [buzzkills], right? Sometimes people just want to not feel as if they are walking on eggshells... and that all of us at any given moment can say things the wrong way, make mistakes."— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) October 14, 2022
Interview with @BarackObama out tonight on @SIRIUSXM and everywhere tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xi65vTNWZH
After watching Obama’s remarks, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough said Obama had repeatedly tried to get the message across that "Democrats should be less judgemental," and should "move away from those that want to pull them into sort of a ‘woke’ culture."
The hosts then turned to Abrams.
Here is a transcript of a selection of Abrams’ Oct. 19 remarks on "Morning Joe":
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski: "Stacey Abrams, it’s great to have you back on the show. Curious at your biggest takeaways as to how your race is going right now and if you’d like to chime in on President Obama’s comments?"
Abrams: "I think President Obama’s absolutely right, and it’s what we’re seeing on the ground. Right now, we are walking away so often from the real issues that people care about. Abortion is an economic issue. It’s been reduced to this idea of a culture war, but for women in Georgia this is very much a question of whether they’re going to end up in poverty in the next five years, because women who are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies end up in poverty within five — they’re four times more likely to be impoverished in five years. They’re twice as likely to be on food stamps. This is an economic issue and it’s being reduced to this culture conversation.
"We know that for families that have faced the issue of inflation, they care about housing prices. They care about whether they can afford to go to the doctor. That’s why I’m fighting for Medicaid expansion in Georgia. And why we’re having conversations about a governor who makes his money in real estate and will not spend $400 million in eviction rental assistance to keep people in their homes.
"And so it’s important that we reduce these conversations not to these high-level professorial conversations, but to real impact on people’s lives. And that’s what we’ve seen is working on the ground and why we’re seeing such turnout in Georgia."
Scarborough: "So, I’m curious. In my four campaigns, I never had to talk about inflation. Warned about it, but never had to say, ‘Hey, here’s my idea on how you get grocery prices down or how you get rent prices down.’ But I’m not alone. This hasn’t really happened in a generation. You’re out on the front lines campaigning along with everybody else, where people are looking to you saying, ‘I can’t buy a starter home like my parents did when they were in their 20s or 30s,’ ‘I’m having trouble paying groceries,’ ‘I’m having trouble paying my bills, let alone getting my kids into college.’ Gas prices are going back up. I’m so curious — what do you say to a voter who’s struggling to even pay their rent now because — my gosh, rent prices for so many middle-class Americans are just exploding?’"
Abrams: "Well, one, you say that inflation is a global phenomenon, but the pain is local and real. So you don’t deny what people are feeling, but then you explain what a governor can do.
"This governor has refused to address the cost of housing. He has said that he doesn’t want to upset investors by giving local governments control over helping control housing prices. I want to make sure they have the help they need. He says that it’s OK because he doesn’t want to upset these investors that 30% of housing units in Georgia have been purchased by out-of-state equity investors. I have a plan to solve that.
"He doesn’t really talk about the issues that we’re facing in health care. We’re losing a level one trauma center. Georgia’s going to be down to four Level 1 trauma centers for an 11 million person population — one for the entire metro Atlanta area. And he won’t do a thing about it by expanding Medicaid. So, I talk about — if you need access to health care, it’s going to be more expensive under this governor. We’ve already lost six hospitals with his leadership — or failed leadership. And so you take the big issues, and you let people understand what a governor can do to address it.
"I’m the only candidate talking about need-based financial aid, so middle class families can send their kids to college without going deeper into debt. Those are the issues we have to talk about, and to the points you were making earlier, we have got to lean into the resources that federal Democrats have delivered to Georgia — that hardworking Georgians have delivered to themselves — to create a $6 billion surplus in our state. My plan is to invest that money back into our communities, back into our families, back into our small businesses. My opponent wants to give it away as tax cuts to the wealthy."
"Morning Joe" contributor Mike Barnicle: "So, Miss Abrams, though, back to the root of Joe’s question that he just asked you. You’re running for governor of Georgia. I would assume — maybe incorrectly — but while abortion is an issue, it nowhere reaches the level of interest of voters in terms of the cost of gas, food, bread, milk, things like that. What can a governor — what could you do as governor to alleviate the concerns of Georgia voters about those livability, daily, hourly issues that they’re confronted with?"
Abrams: "But let’s be clear — having children is why you’re worried about your price for gas. It’s why you’re concerned about how much food costs. For women, this is not a reductive issue. You can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child. And so, it’s important for us to have both\and conversations. We don’t have the luxury of reducing it or separating them out.
"But we also have to talk about what a governor can do. A governor can address housing prices. A governor can address the price of education. A governor can put money into the pockets of everyday hardworking Georgians instead of giving tax cuts to the wealthy. That’s what I talk about on the trail, and that’s what’s resonating.
"But let’s not pretend that women — half the population — especially those of childbearing age, they understand that having a child is absolutely an economic issue. It is only politicians who see it as simply another cultural conversation. It is a real, biological and economic imperative conversation that women need to have."
RELATED: Stacey Abrams on the Truth-O-Meter
RELATED: Brian Kemp on the Truth-O-Meter
Instagram post, Oct. 19, 2022
Instagram post, Oct. 19, 2022
Tweet, Oct. 19, 2022
Republican National Committee tweet, Oct. 19, 2022
MSNBC, Stacey Abrams: Reproductive rights is an economic issue, Oct. 19, 2022
Newsweek, Fact Check: Did Stacey Abrams Suggest Abortions Can Ease Inflation? Oct. 19, 2022
Fox17 WZTV Nashville, Stacy Abrams claims anxiety about high prices is linked to abortion access, Oct. 19, 2022
Jezebel, No, Stacey Abrams didn't say abortion can 'solve inflation,' Oct. 20, 2022
The Daily Beast, Obama admits Democrats can sometimes be a ‘buzzkill,’ Oct. 16, 2022
Internet Archive, Morning Joe MSNBC October 19, 2022 3:00 am-6:00am PDT, Oct. 19, 2022