SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (Christian Examiner) -- Republican president candidate Carly Fiorina stood out during Wednesday's GOP debate for her answers to a host of questions, but it was her response to a question about federal funding of Planned Parenthood that had social media and pro-life leaders buzzing.
CNN's Dana Bash had asked several candidates whether they supported shutting down the federal government during budget talks over the issue of Planned Parenthood, when Fiorina got her turn.
"I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes," Fiorina said, referencing undercover videos made by the Center for Medical Progress. "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us."
Obama has threatened to veto any budget bill in the coming weeks that contains an amendment pulling federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Fiorina's answer drew wide praise on Twitter and Facebook, and loud applause from the audience.
"Carly just gave the best statement on pro-life from a GOP Prez contender since Reagan," wrote Henry Olsen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center on Twitter.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, posted a video of Fiorina's answer and encouraged followers to watch as she "knocks it out of the park."
J.C. Derrick, who covers politics for World Magazine, said Fiorina was the "first candidate I've heard actually describe the @PPact videos. Makes people squirm, but needs to be said."
Senator Ted Cruz, another GOP candidate, has led the charge in the Senate to shut down the government if Obama doesn't sign a budget bill defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provider.
"We shouldn't be sending $500 million of taxpayer money to funding an ongoing criminal enterprise, and I'll tell you, the fact that Republican leadership in both houses has begun this discussion by preemptively surrendering to Barack Obama and saying, 'We'll give in because Obama threatens a veto,'" Cruz said, making his point without finishing the sentence.
"You know, Obama's committed to his principles. His liberal principles, he will fight for them," Cruz said. "He says, 'I will veto any budget that doesn't fund Planned Parenthood,' and Republicans surrender. We need to stop surrendering and start standing for our principles."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood but doesn't believe Republicans should shut down the government over it. It would be futile, he said, and it would harm the GOP in the long run.
"I think there is a way to get this done by giving governors the ability to be able to act to defund Planned Parenthood," Kasich said. "But when it comes to closing down the federal government, you've got to be very careful about that."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was not asked about the government shutdown but did indicate how he would defund Planned Parenthood on the federal level. He would do it, he said, by implementing the "Reagan Rule," a policy Bush said prevented an organization from receiving funding if it performed abortions.
"[Reagan] interpreted it the right way, the courts ruled in his favor, and Planned Parenthood did not get funding during that time until President Clinton came in," Bush said.
On other issues, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was asked to defend his support for Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who chose to go to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage," Huckabee said. "... There wasn't a constitutional shred of capacity for them to do it. I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics. The courts cannot legislate. ... The courts can't make a law. They can interpret one. They can review one. They can't implement it. They can't force it.
Huckabee continued, "I thought we had three branches of government. They were all equal to each other, we have separation of powers, and we have checks and balances. If the court can just make a decision and we just all surrender to it, [then] we have what Jefferson said was judicial tyranny."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also clarified his support for the right of Kim Davis to be granted an accommodation because of her religious beliefs and said his views had not been correctly stated.
"I think there needs to be accommodation for someone acting on their faith," Bush said. "Religious conscience is a first freedom. It's a power part of our Bill of Rights. In a big tolerant country, we should expect the rule of law."
Bush said those bakers, florists and others should have similar accommodations, and these things should happen at the local level.