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Fiorina leverages Trump’s insult into web video

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is turning rival Donald Trump‘s insult into a talking point.

According to a Rolling Stone profile published last week, Trump gestured to an image of Fiorina on television and said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president.”

“I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” Trump said, according to the magazine.

Trump later claimed he was insulting Fiorina’s persona, not her looks. But the feud already had taken root, with some pundits opining that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO is likely to go for Trump’s jugular at this Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

She’s not waiting for the debate, though. She launched a video Monday featuring footage of her at this past weekend’s National Federation of Republican Women convention in Scottsdale, Ariz. – at which she won the straw poll.

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GOP candidates blast Planned Parenthood video

Republican presidential candidates are sounding off about a video that seems to show a top Planned Parenthood executive discussing the transfer of aborted fetal tissue.

As The Hill reports, the undercover video that surfaced Tuesday shows a woman identified as Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, describing in detail procedures to retrieve body parts.

Eric Ferrero, PPFA’s vice president of communications, issued a statement saying the video was secretly recorded and heavily edited by “a well funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services.”

“In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different,” Ferrero said. “At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does – with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”

GOP presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina issued a statement saying she is “”proudly pro-life. I believe that every human life has potential and that every human life is precious. This latest news is tragic and outrageous. This isn’t about ‘choice.’ It’s about profiting on the death of the unborn while telling women it’s about empowerment.”

GOP presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement saying the video “showing a Planned Parenthood employee selling the body parts of aborted children is a disturbing reminder of the organization’s penchant for profiting off the tragedy of a destroyed human life. It is because of stories like this that I signed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas – to protect human life and the health and safety of Texans.”

GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, issued a statement saying there’s “no place for taxpayer funding of organizations that profit from taking away innocent life, much less profiting off the bodies of the lives they have stolen. Congress should immediately begin an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts, including who is obtaining them and what they are being used for. And it should renew efforts to fully defund Planned Parenthood to ensure that its morally bankrupt business receives not one penny of taxpayer money.”

And GOP presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, speaking in his official capacity, issued a statement calling the video “shocking and gruesome.

“This same organization is seeking to open an abortion clinic in New Orleans,” Jindal said. “I have instructed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an immediate investigation into this alleged evil and illegal activity and to not issue any licenses until this investigation is complete. I am also asking the FBI to assist DHH in investigating this alleged criminal activity by this organization.”

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State government transparency at a mouse-click

A new website combining legislative hearing videos and transcripts, information on bills, and data on contributions and gifts to lawmakers in an easy-to-use way was rolled out Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former state Sen. Sam Blakeslee and a passel of good-government advocates.

Digital Democracy not only makes all of this information more accessible and searchable and easier to cross-reference, but also interfaces with social media so users can easily share what they find. The site was created by students at Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy – of which Blakeslee, a Republican from San Luis Obispo, is founding director – so not only advocates and journalists but all Californians can get a clearer picture of what government does and why.

“Technology has radically changed the way society interacts but government is on the cutting edge of 1973. All of this only increases the gap between people and government,” Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018, said in a news release. “Digital Democracy gives citizens the keys to unlock capitol corridors and assess facts in a way that they can be part of the process of governing again.”

Blakeslee said in the release that his institute developed this “to open up government.

“Right now it is a very closed place and the public is largely not able to see what happens, unless they are attending legislative committee hearings in person,” he said. “The California State Legislature does not produce transcripts or minutes from these hearings. There is no list of who was in the room, influencing decisions that were made. With this powerful new platform, Californians will be able to see exactly what people are saying as state laws are being written.”

Newsom serves on the institute’s advisory board member and is author of the 2013 book Citizenville, which explores civic participation in the digital age.

The institute released a poll last week that found overwhelming support for requiring that all state documents, including the budget, be available online with a Google-like search engine. It also found that nearly all Californians want the Legislature’s public hearings to be captured by video and made available to the public on the Internet within 24 hours.

California’s legislature currently does not produce minutes or transcripts of legislative committee hearings. A recent report from the Public Interest Research Group graded every state on government-spending transparency; California received an “F,” coming in dead last.

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Carly Fiorina’s first presidential video

While Hillary Clinton was in Santa Clara on Tuesday calling for gender equity in Silicon Valley, one of the tech industries foremost female ex-CEOs was launching her first presidential campaign video.

Carly Fiorina, who led HP from 1999 to 2005 and was California’s 2010 Republican U.S. Senate nominee, talks in the two-minute video about her career, America, family, faith and conservatism – with nary a demon sheep in sight.

The video is from the newly formed super PAC Carly for America, which the Washington Post reports is laying the groundwork for a potential candidacy. It coincides with Fiorina’s scheduled appearance Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a four-day event in Maryland featuring a slew of possible presidential contenders.

Fiorina – no longer a Californian, having moved to Virginia a few years ago – has been setting the stage for a campaign for the past several months by speaking at conferences, visiting early-primary states, and wooing potential contributors and staffers.

So far, she’s having trouble finding traction and name recognition; most polls of the potential Republican field don’t include her. It’s very early, of course, and she has time to get her name out there – but if she’s actually angling for something other than the Oval Office, it might be useful to remember Fiorina about a year ago joined the advisory board of a pro-Rick Perry “dark money” group.

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Actors tout Tuck for schools superintendent

Marshall Tuck, the Los Angeles school-reform advocate who’s running neck and neck with incumbent Tom Torlakson for superintendent of public instruction, has added a little star power to his campaign.

Tuck’s new two-and-a-half minute campaign video features actors Joel McHale, Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell and Adam Scott sitting down with the candidate in a “strategy session.”

My favorite line (of course): “You’ve been endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Who gives a s—?”

Tuck’s campaign issued a news release saying that while the video provides some humor amid a heated campaign, it takes a serious look at key issues facing the race.

“As a parent, I want to make sure we give every child access to a great education,” Bell said in the news release.

Celebrity factoid: Of these four actors, only Scott is a California native, born in Santa Cruz. Bell and Shepard hail from Detroit’s suburbs, McHale from Seattle.

UPDATE @ 11:47 A.M.: Good questions from Twitter follower Steven Herbert: “Do any of them have children old enough to be in public schools? If so, how many are in public schools?”

Bell and Shepard have one daughter, Lincoln Bell Shepard, born in March 2013, and they’re now expecting a second child; they live in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. Scott and his wife, Naomi, have two children, son Graham, 7, and daughter Frankie, 5, and live in LA’s Hollywood Hills section. McHale and his wife, Sarah Williams, have two sons, Eddie, 8, and Isaac, 6; they live in Hollywood Hills as well.

I don’t know what schools the kids attend.

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See Neel Kashkari’s video of living on the street

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari said he spent a week living as a homeless person in search of a job to test Gov. Jerry Brown‘s claim that the state is making a comeback after the economic downturn, the Associated Press reports.

Wanna guess what he concluded?

He wrote an opinion piece on his experience for the Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall, unfortunately), but here’s the video his campaign produced:

You’ve gotta give him credit for cojones. Whether California voters believe the state is worse off under Brown’s stewardship remains to be seen, but this is not something you would’ve seen Meg Whitman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Simon, Dan Lungren or Pete Wilson do in a million years. Kashkari may be running his campaign on a shoestring, but he’s clearly all in.