Kirsten Gillibrand Criticizes Fox News' Abortion Coverage In Her Town Hall

The New York senator running for president "has never been afraid to go into the ‘lion’s den,’" a promo video made by her presidential campaign said in advance of her town hall on conservative cable news. On Sunday she proved it. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand criticized Fox News' abortion coverage and went toe-to-toe with the network's Chris Wallace on a number of progressive topics, Politico reports. These are some of the key moments from the hour-long program.

Many topics focused on women. "I am the leading presidential candidate on women’s rights today," Gillibrand told the crowd, underlining her argument to voters that had gathered in person in Dubuque, Iowa. In addition to abortion and reproductive rights, she went back and forth with Wallace over women's representation in Congress, her plan for a national paid family leave program, and universal pre-kindergarten.

Gillibrand had plenty at stake in her appearance, namely her need to draw more donors to her campaign. Having at least 65,000 individual donors is necessary, per DNC rules, to appear at the first two Democratic debates. She has not hit that mark and called on supporters to donate to the campaign during the town hall.

These are some of the moments that are key to understanding her appearance in the "lion's den." The clips show she did not hold back and brought her pro-women campaign to Fox News' viewers.

1. Gillibrand Criticized Fox News' "False Narrative" On Abortion Rights

When asked by an audience member about late-term abortion, Gillibrand focused on Fox News itself. She said that the network plays a role in creating the "false narrative" on reprodutive rights in the United States.

"The debate about whether or not women should have reproductive freedom has turned into a red herring debate,” Gillibrand told Wallace. "What happens on Fox News is relevant because they talked about infanticide for six and a half hours — six and a half hours — right before President Trump’s State of the Union."

"That is not the debate of what access to reproductive care is in this country," she added.

2. She Doubled Down On The Future Being Female

Wallace asked Gillibrand to explain her December 2018 tweet about the future being female, intersectional, and "powered by our belief in one another."

"We want women to have a seat at the table," Gillibrand explained, prompting Wallace to ask about men. "They’re already there — do you not know?" Gillibrand continued. "It’s not meant to be exclusionary, it’s meant to be inclusionary."

3. Gillibrand Called Out The NRA

Gillibrand criticized the NRA in strong terms. "Americans are feeling ripped apart by the gun deaths we have seen, year after year, month after month," Gillibrand told the crowd. "The most outrageous thing that's happened to our democracy is how much fear, and division, and hate has been spread. I think the NRA is the worst organization in this country for doing exactly that. They care more about their profits than the American people."

4. She Talked About "Lifting Up" Women Candidates

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At about 11:20 in, an audience member asked Gillibrand how she and other candidates could make the race a more "fair playing field" between the men and women candidates.

The senator responded first with a plug for her campaign website. "What we can do is lift up the voices that we want to see on the debate stage," Gillibrand told the audience. She said it was up to the public to support the women candidates running and to encourage their friends to do so, too.

5. Gillibrand Pointed Out That Trump Has Signed Her Bills

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At about 3:00 minutes in, she touted her bipartisanship and said that "even in the last Congress" she passed 19 bills that Trump signed into law. "I don't even know that he knows that he signed it into law, but he did," she told the crowd.

6. She Said Little Girls On The Campaign Trail Inspire Her

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Asked by Wallace at about 5:20 for one moment that stands out, Gillibrand spoke about some of the younger people she's seen while campaigning. "I've been most inspired by the number of little girls that I've seen on the campaign trail who are so excited about the future," Gillibrand said. "We have six women running, and I think they can see themselves in those women."

7. She Addressed Calling On Al Franken To Step Down

Asked about how she called on fellow Democrat Al Franken to step down from his senate seat, Gillibrand didn't hold back. "If a few Democratic donors are angry because I stood by eight women. That’s on them," she told Wallace.

8. Gillibrand Talked About Drag And Gender Identity

Talking about her favorite moments in the campaign, Gillibrand talked about going to a drag show and gifting her dress to the performer in the end because it looked better on her.

Wallace asked if if that is what she meant by "the future is female." Not skipping a beat, Gillibrand said, "Yes, that's what gender identity is."

In her closing statement, Gillibrand focused on the president, who she said was "harming the moral fabric of this country." "I believe this country deserves a president who is strong, who is brave, who will do the right things," Gillibrand told the crowd.

Gillibrand also said that she would focus on women, minorities, and families, and what they need. "And that's why I'm going to win," she added just before Wallace wrapped things up.