I’m live-blogging John Boehner’s speech at the National Right to Live Convention at 10:30 EST. Also, live-tweeting at the NRLC Communications Twitter: www.twitter.com/nrlcomm
10:20 AM: Setting up in the Grand Ballroom. They’re handing out American flags, and there’s excitement in the air.
10:24 AM: Found online that portions of Boehner’s prepared remarks were leaked to Human Events. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37715
10:30 AM: Running a little late, it seems. There are 17 American flags lining the stage for the speech. They should look good on C-SPAN, who’s here filming the speech for a taped broadcast later this month.
10:35 AM: Darla St. Martin, Co-Executive Director of National Right to Life, takes the stage and begins the introductions. She says: “There’s an awakening across this country about unborn children.”
10:39 AM: Darla introduces the 8 people sitting on stage, and there are plenty of heavy-weights, including Attorney General Tom Corbett, Congressman Tim Murphy, Wanda Franz, President of NRLC, and of course Boehner.
10:42 AM: Corbett welcomes NRLC attendees to the state, and makes me laugh with: “Who’s from out of state? Come here and spend money! We have a problem with our budget and we sure could use your help.” Yeah, you and every other state in the union.
10:46 AM: Corbett signals his solidarity with pro-life causes: “We must remain hopeful and committed to protecting the vulnerable. I believe that’s how as a society we will be judged.”
10: 51 AM: Congressman Murphy’s turn. He rips on taxpayer funding of abortion, particularly in the health care bill. He says: “Abortion is not something we should fund with tax dollars. Life has struggles, but also infinite joys and opportunities.”
10: 54 AM: David O’Steen, Executive Director of NRLC, introduces a power-point with statistics showing that pro-lifers outnumber pro-aborts for the first time in polling history. “Today in America, the normal is to be pro-life. More people identify as pro-life than pro-choice.”
10: 59 AM: O’Steen says 65% of Americans disapprove of the current federal funding of abortion, and 61% do not want government healthcare providing any funding for abortion.
11:01 AM: O’Steen gets brings it back around to elections. “To answer a question from 2008, yes, we have hope. And we will remember in November.”
11:03 AM: NRLC Legislative Director Karen Cross takes over, saying pro-lifers are “encouraged” by recent developments. “The survivors of Roe v. Wade are not just embracing the pro-life position, they are acting on their convictions.”
11:05 AM: Karen points out encouraging signs. “After the 08 election, we were told: it was over. Your presence here is evidence that we did not pack our bags and go home.”
11:06 AM: Karen sends out a political call to action: “With your energy, enthusiasm and determination, we can make this year a turning point for our country and our culture.”
11: 06 AM: Darla St. Martin comes back to the podium to introduce Boehner, and accidentally introduces him as the “House Speaker.” She laughs and says, “I’m getting ahead of myself!”
11:07 AM: John Boehner gets another standing ovation when he walks to the podium. There are a lot of flags being waved.
11:11 AM: Darla holds onto the podium for a minute, telling the audience that Boehner has been a “major impediment to the abortion agenda, the ObamaPelosiReid agenda.”
11:13 AM: Boehner can’t start speaking yet because people are going crazy. It’s the third standing ovation for him and he hasn’t even started speaking.
11:13 AM: Boehner says, “I know that the program says I’m here to accept an award, but it’s not my work that we should be celebrating, it’s yours.” A line we’ll be quoting for years.
11:14 AM: Boehner talks about his background and history, saying that pro-life positions were simply assumed when he was growing up. “Respect for life has never been a political position for me, it’s just who I am,” he says.
11:16 AM: “Americans love life and freedom. They’re intertwined in American character. Without respect for life, freedom is in jeopardy.”
11: 17 AM: Boehner is either crying or has allergies. He looks like he’s tearing up when he says, “There’s nothing more defenseless than an unborn baby.”
11: 18 AM: Boehner starts talking about action. “If you believe in being right to life, being quiet right now isn’t good enough.”
11: 21 AM: Boehner runs through the laundry list of pro-abortion Obama policies, criticizing them in turn. He rips on embryonic stem-cell research, Obama’s relationship with Planned Parenthood, and the push to allow abortions on military bases.
11:23 AM: Boehner moves on to health care, criticizing using federal funding for abortion. “The overwhelming opposition of taxpayers to using taxes to fund abortion almost killed the bill.”
11:25 AM: On the health care law: “These policies do not unite America, they divide America. In the coming months, America must decide if this will continue.” The implication: Americans should decide it should stop.
11:25 AM: Boehner fondly mentions Henry Hyde and the room erupts in respectful applause.
11:27 AM: Boehner announced his intended co-sponsorship of a bill to ban taxpayer funding of abortion.
11:28 AM: Boehner says, “I believe we need to repeal the health care bill and start over,” and the room erupts in applause and flag-waving again.
11:29 AM: Veiled Obama criticisms: “The people running our government haven’t been listening. If they continue, the results could be catastrophic.”
11:31 AM: He finishes with: “There is no cause more norble than the defense of human life,” and accepts the NRLC Legislative Leadership Award.