Schieffer: Both sides use abortion as fundraiser

In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Planned Parenthood supporter Peg Paulson of Carmel, Ind., left, and opponent Heather Pruett of Indianapolis argue outside the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill to withhold state and federal Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood. The Obama administration is challenging the new law.
AP Photo/Indianapolis Star, Alan Petersime

Editor's note: Susan G. Komen for the Cure reversed itself Friday, saying it would continue funding Planned Parenthood.

Donations were pouring into Planned Parenthood Friday morning after a major breast cancer foundation created a firestorm by cutting off funding. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is rejecting charges that abortion politics led to its decision.

On "CBS This Morning" Bob Schieffer said the controversy underlines that "abortion is still one of the most divisive issues in American politics.

"It seems to play a major part in all of our campaigns. Now you're seeing this divide between these two very fine organizations - The Komen Foundation saying that they want their money to go to screening for breast cancer to help poor people. Planned Parenthood, of course, gives advice on that, and also on abortion. It's one of those words, you mention 'abortion,' it sets off an explosion.

"It's not because people are insincere on either side of this issue," said Schieffer. "But it's one of the issues that the Congress always takes up about twice a year, because it's such a great fundraiser for both sides."

When asked if Komen's withdrawal of funding from Planned Parenthood will be seen as an issue on the campaign trail, Schieffer replied, "Sure. Newt Gingrich has been talking about it. But I mean, I think in the end Planned Parenthood may raise a lot of money that they might not have otherwise raised because this has come up."

Planned Parenthood fights give liberal groups fundraising boost
Komen for Cure, Planned Parenthood sparks fly

In other politics news, Schieffer was asked about comments on the campaign trail which have stirred controversy: Mitt Romney saying he was not worried about the very poor, and President Obama saying he thinks Jesus would support raising taxes on the wealthy.

"I'm not going to take a position on what Jesus is for or against!" said Schieffer. "Some people seem to have a direct line, they can find out, [but] every time I talk to him, he's on me for doing something wrong!"

With respect to Romney's comments on the poor and on firing people, Schieffer said it reinforces a perception that Romney has difficulty relating to people who don't know him. "Somehow or another, every time he does something good in this campaign - you know, he made that great point in the debate when he called out Rick Perry, and then he said, 'And I bet you 10,000 bucks I'm right,' and it somehow leaves this impression that he's just sort of not connected to the regular folks. He's got to figure out some way to do this. Why would you, at ANY time, say, 'I'm not worried about the poor'?"

Further into politics, Schieffer said yesterday's endorsement by Donald Trump of Mitt Romney is at least partly about Donald Trump ("He does have a new television show starting up after the Super Bowl"), but is not convinced that endorsements have that much to do with anything. "Look what happened [when] Nikki Halley endorsed Romney down in South Carolina. Gingrich wins." And Herman Cain's endorsement of Gingrich prior to the Florida primary didn't help him.

When asked by Charlie Rose if Romney can "close it down" now or will the GOP race go all the way to the convention, Schieffer said, "I think it's going to go on for a while. I'm not sure it's going to go all the way to the convention. I wish it would! Because I think it would be great just from a journalist's standpoint to cover a convention where they didn't know who the nominee was going to be.

"Gingrich is going to hang around here as long as he can continue to get money for this [super PAC] that he's getting from this fellow out in Las Vegas, who's pouring those millions into that, because there is still a divide in the Republican Party."