Akin Rape Comments Update
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” …WaPo
I think Todd Akin needs sex education. He certainly doesn’t need a Senate seat.
Akin’s claim is one that pops up occasionally in social conservative circles. A federal judge nominated by President Bush in the early 2000s had said similar things, as have state lawmakers in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Politicians and activists who espouse this view often suggest that women who haven’t been raped will claim to have been raped in order to obtain an abortion. An Idaho state lawmaker apologized earlier this year after urging doctors to make sure women who claimed they had been raped were sure of that fact.
Akin himself has suggested in the past that women may claim to be raped as a strategy during divorce proceedings.
Needless to say, this is territory that GOP leaders would rather not have Akin wander into. …WaPo
This is Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat we’re talking about. McCaskill is a Democrat. She’s been skating on thin political ice, trying to keep her seat in spite of an assault from the tea party right. Akin, though, has been revealed now as a brainless puppet.
Akin’s statement threatens to recast a Senate race in which he starts as the favorite, but national Republicans are concerned about his ability to execute a winning strategy. Akin won the GOP nomination two weeks ago — a result that Democrats hailed as a potential game-changer in a tough race for them. …WaPo
EDITOR”S UPDATE: This is only the latest “unforced error” of Aikin in his campaign against McCaskill and GOPers are now worried for several reasons.
EDITOR’S UPDATE II: There are now even rumblings by GOPers of getting Akin off the ticket. NBC News’ First Read provides some context in their summaries:
*** Akin it worse: Missouri Senate GOP nominee Todd Akin’s remarks on rape yesterday not only could endanger the Republicans’ chances in that particular race as well as their chances of taking back the Senate in the fall, they also could further damage the GOP’s brand with women. In an interview with a Missouri TV station, Akin explained his opposition to abortion, even in instances of rape. “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said, per NBCNews.com’s Mike O’Brien. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” His Democratic opponent, incumbent (and vulnerable) Sen. Claire McCaskill pounced: “I think frankly, like most women, when we heard the statement, it was, ‘Are you kidding?’ It was a stunner, just jaw dropping and hard to comprehend.” Akin, a House Republican, later released a statement saying he had misspoken. “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”
*** Reemphasizing the gender gap: After the GOP presidential primary season and after social issues jumped into the spotlight earlier this year — the trans-vaginal ultrasound legislation in Virginia, the dispute over the health-care law’s requirement that religious-affiliated schools and hospitals offer free contraception, Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” — the Republican Party found itself facing a significant gender gap. According to last month’s NBC/WSJ poll, President Obama was leading Mitt Romney by 15 points among registered female voters, 54%-39%. In addition, the GOP’s fav/unfav with women in the poll was 32%/46% (versus 46%/35% for the Democratic Party). So there’s a reason why the Romney campaign acted so quickly to distance itself from Akin’s remarks. “Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” spokesman Andrea Saul said in a statement last night. (However, Ryan personally opposes all abortions — even in cases of rape — except to save the mother’s life.) And all of this comes as the Obama campaign has been targeting female voters in Colorado and Northern Virginia on abortion and women’s issues. By the way, Romney and Ryan have a joint interview with WMUR today, so what they say about Akin could drive this story and actions by the GOP in the next 12 hours.
*** Show Me a controversy: Focusing on that Missouri Senate contest, it’s worth paying attention to see if national Republicans — in the next 24 hours — try to force Akin to bow out from the race. On the one hand, what Akin said is incredibly toxic, especially when facing a female opponent. On the other hand, Missouri is still a conservative state. But a source with ties to Akin’s political operation tells First Read that the GOP congressman most likely won’t quit the contest, saying Akin believes this race is “providential” and even if Akin was ready to get out, his wife would never let him quit. The person with knowledge of Akin’s political operation adds: “She makes him seem like the reasonable one.” If you take away Missouri from the GOP’s potential win column, they have a MUCH MORE difficult path to taking back the Senate. How are Akin’s remarks playing in the Show Me State? Here’s the headline from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Akin’s rape comment threatens to alter U.S. Senate race.” And here is the Kansas City Star: “Senate candidate Todd Akin’s remark on rape stirs anger.”