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Ted Cruz Capitalizes on Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting

For the briefest of moments over the weekend, it seemed that Ted Cruz might show a little humanity when it came to assessing the shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic that left three people dead.

“We don’t know ... what those motives were, but whatever they were, it’s unacceptable, and it’s horrific and wrong,” the senator told reporters Saturday at a town hall meeting in Lamoni, Iowa, according to the Texas Tribune. "I have spent much of my adult life working in law enforcement, working against murderers and those who commit violent crime, and that one officer lost his life is particularly tragic." 

The man alleged to have done the shooting, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, reportedly told law enforcement "no more baby parts" after the shooting, echoing the rhetoric used by anti-choice politicians when they've discussed the undercover videos filmed by the Center for Medical Progress at Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. 

"The videos that have made all the headlines raise a large number of troubling allegations, allegations that — again — my office is aggressively investigating and we will go to any and all lawful lengths to get to the bottom of what has been happening. But more than any misdeeds involving the sale of aborted baby parts is this fundamental truth: The true abomination in all this is the institution of abortion," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in July. "Even if their body parts are never sold, or never used for research, for the babies who are killed in abortion clinics — more than 54,000 last year in Texas and more than 57 million in the United States since 1973 — their fate is a plastic bag in a refrigerator and anonymous disposal in an incinerator somewhere."

Elsewhere, people like Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina have inserted pro-life fantasies into the videos — she claimed one of the heavily edited pieces showed an abortion performed outside of the womb on a fetus with a still-beating heart, which never happened — and said that the videos show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetuses for parts, which is a thing that doesn't happen. None of the state investigations initiated following the videos has found any wrongdoing.

Vicki Cowert, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said Saturday that Dear was motivated by "opposition to safe and legal abortion." That's not explicitly clear, but it rings true as the most likely explanation of the murders that Dear was officially charged with Monday.

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Cruz, at another Iowa campaign stop Sunday, made it clear that he sees things differently.

"It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist. If that’s what he is, I don’t think it’s fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left. This is a murderer," Cruz said.

The only bit of Cruz's statement with a tangential connection to reality is that Dear's voter registration apparently listed him as UAF, or unaffiliated with a political party. It also listed his sex as female, which, more likely than anything, means he ticked the wrong box on his registration form.

Dear's ex-wife, Pamela Ross, told The New York Times over the weekend that her former husband was conservative, kept guns around the house and was against abortion, but wasn't obsessed with any of those issues.

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