Former Susan G. Komen for the Cure vice president for public policy Karen Handel stands by the anecdotes in her recent book “Planned Bullyhood” that have received pushback from Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican strategist Karl Rove.
Handel, who resigned amid the Planned Parenthood grant controversy at the beginning of the year, told The Daily Caller in an interview at the Values Voters Summit Friday that she was accurately reporting the information that had been relayed to her in the heat of Komen’s decision to end funding for Planned Parenthood and then subsequently to reverse the decision.
In her book, Handel tells of a phone call that was “extremely ugly in its tone” made by Wasserman Schultz to Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker shortly before the public announcement that Komen would stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood.
According to Handel, the Florida Democratic congresswoman spoke harshly of Handle, a pro-lifer who had run unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia 2010, saying, “How dare you hire someone who was diametrically opposed to Planned Parenthood.”
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse disputed the tone of the call.
“I can only say how the nature of the call was related to me,” Handel told TheDC. “I’m a very rabid notetaker, and when I’m on phone calls with folks, I take very detailed notes. And when it got to the part about me – when a sitting member of Congress says the phrase, how dare you? That in and of itself is a threatening phraseology.”
Handel has repeatedly said politics played no role in the decision to end Planned Parenthood grants, and that it was under consideration before she arrived at Komen.
The former Komen executive also recounted how Brinker told her, in the midst of the uproar over the decision to end Planned Parenthood grants, that Rove recommended that the organization reverse its decision.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people. And even Karl says we have to backtrack,” Handel recalled Brinker telling her.
Rove told TheDC last week that the claim is “not accurate.”
Handel reiterated the charge to TheDC, with the caveat that Brinker likely sought advice from her vast network of friends and confidants.
“I’ll tell you specifically what Ambassador Brinker said – that we have to reverse, we just have no choice, even Karl thinks we have to reverse, I put the exact verbiage in the book,” Handel said. “I mean, so I don’t know who called who, I will tell you that in working with Ambassador Brinker for the time that I did, she is the person that when she’s uncertain about something, she calls many people. She has a vast network. So I’m going to assume she called a lot of people, it wouldn’t surprise me that he was one of them. And I just know what she said to me.”
Handel added that characterizing Rove as an adviser to Komen is likely too strong.
“I mean, I think she just [was] calling people she respected and friends,” she said.