Todd Akin Resists Calls to Withdraw from Missouri Senate Race After Rape Comments

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Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call / Getty Images

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., speaks during a news conference on the new Health and Human Services Department abortion rule, March 21, 2012.

Politics is tribal. When a candidate commits a typical gaffe, his opponents attack while his allies mount a defense. That’s just the way it goes. But once in a while, a candidate says something so devastatingly stupid everything gets turned around. A day after Missouri congressman Todd Akin told a local TV interviewer that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant, national Republicans called for him to abandon his challenge to Senator Claire McCaskill while Democrats welcomed the chance to fight for the pivotal seat on more favorable ground.

There are many layers of inaccuracy in Akin’s statement, but for our purposes let’s just say this: The U.S. criminal code makes no distinction between types of rape–it is simply defined as any sexual act committed without without a person’s consent or knowledge, or through coercion, physical or otherwise. And rape does lead to pregnancies–some 32,000 a year in the U.S. according to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. There is a long history of politicians and anti-abortion activists making similar claims to Akin’s, but he has since said he was mistaken. That wasn’t enough for many in his party.

On Monday, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, in a tough Senate race himself, said Akin’s “statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri.” Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who is not up for re-election this year, agreed.  Most importantly, John Cornyn, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, asked Akin to “carefully consider what is best for him, his family [and] the Republican Party” over the next 24 hours, a not-so-subtle push to get out of the race. American Crossroads, the nation’s largest Republican super PAC, announced it is withdrawing its funds from Missouri, where it has spent millions on Akin’s effort to oust McCaskill.

Akin did not heed those calls. In a rambling interview with friendly conservative radio host Mike Huckabee during which Akin attributed his comment to “foot-in-mouth disease,” cited 9/11 and noted “I’ve even known some women who have been raped,” the candidate said he would not withdraw from the race. He apologized for his comments, acknowledged that pregnancy can result from rape and clarified that by “legitimate rape” he had meant “forcible rape,” an equally meaningless distinction under U.S. law. Things didn’t get much better in a later interview with Sean Hannity. “I had heard from medical reports that rape is such a traumatic thing that there’s a reaction,” Akin said, referring to a theory in some anti-abortion circles that the trauma of rape somehow makes a woman’s body resist conception. “But that’s wrong.”  The interviews did little to quiet intra-party criticism.

While almost all of the party’s major candidates are anti-abortion, most also support exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush all hold that position. Akin does not, and his clumsy defense may now be used against fellow Republicans in other races. (Last year Akin co-sponsored a bill with Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan banning federal funds for abortions in cases of “forcible rape.” The phrase was later removed.) On Monday, Obama called Akin’s comments “offensive” and evidence that “we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians – the majority of whom are men – making health care decisions on behalf of women.” The Twitter account of Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown’s opponent in Massachusetts, offered a case study in spinning an individual controversy into a national issue.

In a much more direct sense, Akin’s comments imperiled Republican efforts to gain a Senate majority. McCaskill, a tenacious campaigner, won office by just 2 points in the Democratic wave of 2006 and Missouri looked likely to be a key Republican pickup this cycle. Recent polling showed Akin 5 points ahead. But that lead will be difficult to maintain under the coming avalanche of Democratic attack ads and without aid from national Republicans.

That’s why outraged Democrats aren’t calling for Akin’s withdrawal–they know he’s their best bet to hold the seat. “He was nominated by the Republicans in Missouri. I will let them sort that out,” Obama said. McCaskill went as far as to say there would be blowback against Republicans if they push Akin out. “I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they’re going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical,” she said. “I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that.”

Akin still has time to change his mind. He can withdraw without penalty before 5 p.m. Tuesday, or ask a court to remove him from the ballot after that. But after rumors circulated Monday that he might step aside–likely started by Republicans who’d prefer to see him go–Akin told Hannity “we’re going to stay in.” He posted a fundraising appeal to Twitter that read, “I am in this race to win.” Even more than tribalism, self-preservation is the way of politics.

114 comments
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Furiousinbarcelona
Furiousinbarcelona

Bravo Hollywooddeed...right on. We men should be joining them in that. Its a biological defense we all have in common. Regarding Aiken and his comment. The man is advocating violence against women with that comment. I´m apalled that his "party" doesn´t see it that way.

ChowT
ChowT

For voters sentiment Gopers feign horrors.

Actually Todd Akin is being honest voicing GOP's sentiment on women's right.

That is women have no rights. Shut up We will decide !.

ChowT
ChowT

Todd Akin = Mitt Romney = Ryan = GOP will decide for women what you can do to your bodies, women have no say = Rapist telling women victim, shut up and do whatever I tell you so.

Why Should Mitt Romney tell Todd Akin  not to Run?

Todd Akin = Mitt Romney = Ryan .

bobcn
bobcn

Pro-choice advocates need to stop allowing themselves to be dragged into debates about 'when life begins'.  The gop's repeated attempts to pass personhood legislation allows pro-choice advocates to re-frame and clarify the debate.

Is a fertilized egg alive? Yes.

Is an unfertilized egg also alive? Yes.

Are the whiskers on my chin alive?  Also yes.  

Am I committing mass murder every morning when I shave?  Of course not, because (just like the fertilized and unfertilized eggs) the whiskers are not PERSONS.  The fact that the whiskers are alive is irrelevant. 

When abortion opponents insist that 'life begins at conception' I have to point out that unfertilized eggs and sperm are also alive.  I also have to point out that since a fertilized egg is not a 'person' it doesn't deserve the rights and protections of a person.

I believe in freedom.  I respect the right of people whose religious beliefs tell them that the fertilized egg is endowed with a soul to oppose abortion -- for themselves.  I will not allow them to force their choices and beliefs onto me. 

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 The point at which life "begins" is not a real issue.  The issue, whether abortion is "constitutional", is clear: constitutional rights and protections extend to people who are citizens, meaning BORN of parents who are citizens, or naturalized.  Zygotes, embryos and fetuses are not born.  Therefore they are not citizens.  Therefore there is no extension of constitutional rights to them.

pneogy
pneogy

I wouldn't call AKin's statement in question devastatingly stupid by GOP standards.  And I am not sure that the Republicans who voted for him in the primary think it is all that outrageous.  The man has campaigned for months to win the confidence and approval of his constituents.  Let the man have his day at the polls.  

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

Why should Akin quit?  He stands for and reflects true Republican ignorance and belief.  You can know that few Republicans would disagree with his views, only that he states them too starkly and clearly.   Some Republicans, while agreeing with him,  know that sensible people will be offended.

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

It isn't just Akin.  This country is predominately Christian and is a civilized nation, considered advanced in both categories but don't kid yourself there are real pressures aimed to push us away from the common sense that we are use to.  There are those who want this country to become a theocracy like Iran.  They won't admit to the term but none the less that is the reality and it is completely against the freedoms and acceptance for all that our country was founded on.  Whether Christian or Muslim or whatever, the forceful acceptance of their extremes is a route to disaster for a truly free society.  Some have become crazed in their beliefs and see it as their duty to force those beliefs on others, not unlike the Taliban, and theirs is not a road away from but rather a road to hell in its starting a domination over the people, instead of serving the people.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

Five bucks says Toad Akin will withdraw before the end of the day.

But not in time to conceal the Republithug WAR ON WOMEN. That cat is not only out of the bag, its on international television.

filmnoia
filmnoia

You can only hide your crazy uncle up in the attic for only so long. You can't disown him, he's kin. Akin is what the modern GOP created when Rove cynically manipulated the religiously insane and the rustic yahoos for GOP political gain. They own him.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

A plank being drafted for the GOP platform this year is to outlaw any reason for abortion:

"Tampa, Florida (CNN) - The Republican Party is once again set to enshrine into its official platform support for "a human life amendment" to the

Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit

exemptions for rape or incest, according to draft language of the

platform obtained exclusively by CNN late Monday."

http://politicalticker.blogs.c...

“Data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research, policy analysis and public

education organization, reveals that in just the first three months of

2012, legislators in 45 state capitals have already introduced 944 provisions to limit women's reproductive health and rights.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

They will, of course, attempt to keep these facts away from the public, so as not to repel women voters -- because they know only the Stepford wives would vote Republican this year!

Yeshuratnam
Yeshuratnam

Don’t give importance to Akin’s blab.Team Obama's calculated strategy is to divert the attention of voters from burning issues and to focus on flimsy issues such as 'rape,' 'tax evasion,'women rights  etc., Women’s suffrage demand began as

early as 1848, at the Seneca Falls convention, long before Obamas came to

America. Then, how can Obama pose as a defender of women’s rights?  America is seething in economic recession and unemployment. Obama's impotence has been exposed in the Syrian crisis. He is equally responsible for the bloodbath in Syria.He has lavishly given several billion dollars of loan to Morsi's Egypt, and he is now emerging as another Khomeini and the Muslim Brotherhood Egypt shows signs of another Iran. In a speech delivered in front of an enthusiastic crowd on

May 13, 2012 Morsi said that the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is, “The Koran

is our constitution. The Prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And

death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”  Like Iran, Egypt will plan a jihad against America. Taking advantage of Obama's weakness,

Putin wants to revive the old Soviet Union. Obama wants to camouflage these

dangerous trends by raising issues such as  rape, women rights etc.,  ? Unless Americans elect a strong president like Reagan, America is earmarked for a collapse. (Remember 9/11).

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

Yeshuratnam, Purveyor of Fear, explains to the world the nature and depth of his Unknowing Worldview.  And he manages to do it, in true RustyRod The Woman Hater Republithug Racist style, without citing any verifiable facts or sources.

My guess is that Yeshuratnam is a Republithug  making every effort to foster hate against, and fear of, American Muslims.

Republithugs will not stop stooping until they touch bottom.

Yeshuratnam
Yeshuratnam

When facts are presented, Glen should not call us "Republithugs.' Read once more the authentic facts.

Don’t give importance to Akin’s blab.Team Obama's calculated strategy is to divert the attention of voters from burning issues and to focus on flimsy issues such as 'rape,' 'tax evasion,'women rights  etc., Women’s suffrage demand began as early as 1848, at the Seneca Falls convention, long before Obamas came to America. Then, how can Obama pose as a defender of women’s rights?  America is seething in economic recession and unemployment. Obama's impotence has been exposed in the Syrian crisis. He is equally responsible for the bloodbath in Syria.He has lavishly given several billion dollars of loan to Morsi's Egypt, and he is now emerging as another Khomeini and the Muslim Brotherhood Egypt shows signs of another Iran. In a speech delivered in front of an enthusiastic crowd on May 13, 2012 Morsi said that the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is, “The Koran is our constitution. The Prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”  Like Iran, Egypt will plan a jihad against America. Taking advantage of Obama's weakness, Putin wants to revive the old Soviet Union. Obama wants to camouflage these dangerous trends by raising issues such as  rape, women rights etc.,  ? Unless Americans elect a strong president like Reagan, America is earmarked for a collapse. (Remember 9/11).

53underscore3
53underscore3

Remember, Glen:

Rape, tax evasion, and women's rights are flimsy issues!

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

Quoting  Richard Broderick Jr · Top Commenter on USAToday · Partner at Broderick amp; Broderick

Fact:

MOST working people pay a much higher percentage of their income in

Social Security and Medicare tax than does a guy like Mitt. This is a

significant tax for most workers (about 7.5%) of their income and their

employer pays about the same. Most of Mitt's income is exempt from this

tax. Even if we give Mitt credit for his self-employment tax, Mitt pays

less than %0.15 of his income in Social Security and Medicare taxation.

That is a rate 50 times LESS than most working people. That's right, the

guy mowing Mitt's lawn is paying 50 times higher rate of SS and Med.

taxation than does Mitt. You can easily check it out online at the

Social Security Administration.

But that is not the end of the preferential treatment for Mitt and those very wealthy like him.

Fact: In addition, almost all of Mitt's income is taxed at the lower capital

(unearned) rate while the income of most middle class workers is

generally a higher ordinary (earned) rate. That's right, if you WORK for

your money you pay at a much higher rate. If your income is UNEARNED -

as Mitt claims his is, then you pay at a much lower capital rate.

What makes it even worse is that Mitt proposes to lower his taxes and the taxes of his estate even more all while taxes on the ultra-rich are about the lowest they have been 80 years and our country is broke. The Ryan plan he has endorsed will cut future social security benefits and at the same time drop the top tax rate by about a third. So he gets money, we get less when we are old, and the country goes even more in debt. You can easily verify how historically low the top tax rate is by simply googling "top income tax rate history". Google the Ryan plan too.

-----------------------

RustyRod The Woman-Hater Republithug Racist = 0

OBAMA = 1000

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Claire McCaskil is now "worried" about all those Republican primary voters.  Claire is advocating for Akin to remain in the race.  

"She said "I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that there're going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical.  I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that".

No Claire.  Don't worry yourself.  You just want him to remain because that is your only hope of winning your seat back.  

http://washingtonexaminer.com/...

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Who was Todd Akin's biggest supporter.  I am sure you all are wondering that right now.  Who gave Todd money to spew forth his idiotic rants.

Well look here.  The Washington Post says

No wonder Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill wanted to run against Rep. Todd Akin, even investing in his GOP primary victory two weeks ago by spending $2 million on ads that described him as “too conservative.’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

MrObvious
MrObvious

I fail to see how this is remotely important to the fact of what Akin said?

Unless of course by your 'LOOK SQUIRREL!' moment you hope to change the actual discussion to that of his opponent.

She may or may not fail take back the seat. It's really not important to the fact that GOP is being exposed to what they've become and when the shiat sticks to Paul Ryan it'll be hard for Mitt to defend their radical ideas.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

Yes Rusty it's true. Democrats prefer to run against people like you!

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

How to destroy your campaign in 30 seconds or less: Violate the “dog whistle” code

There’s a very good reason that “Republican dog whistle” is a political term of art. The term is used when Republican candidates say things specifically calculated to signal to Republican activists, in a way deniable to everybody else, that the candidate is with ‘em on issues that they can’t get caught admitting to in public. Akin’s unforgivable sin, in the minds of his fellow Republican leadership, is that he didn’t use the dog whistle – the command only the dogs can hear – to call the dogs. Instead, he shouted the command where everybody could hear it.

It’s written by Harold Cook, a Democratic strategist here in Texas, and worth a read. (Harold’s a disciple of the late, great St. Molly Ivins.)

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

I'm sure the democRATS don't "dog-whistle" at all.

"Did you hear Mitt Romney tied his dog to the roof of his car one time?"  

Dog whistle to the PETA nuts.

"Did you hear Mitt Romney doesn't pay any taxes?"  Dog whistle to the "99% and class warfare advocates of the Democrat Part.

"Did you hear Mitt Romney is a RACIST?"  Dog whistle to all those not white in the Democrat Party.

"Did you hear Mitt Romney will stop all immigration, HUNT down illegals and deport them back to their home country?"

"Did you hear Mitt Romney is a FELON?"  Out and out LIES, no whistle, just the usual low gutter politics played in CHICAGO.

"Did you hear Mitt Romney is JUST like Todd Akin, he's against abortion too"?

No, no dog whistles from the democRATS at all.  Who would think such a thing?

MrObvious
MrObvious

You need to look up the term dog whistle.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Rod

Okay, let me try to explain it very simply since you're once more dipping into the false equivalence pool.

Lets say Mitt uses a dog-whistle term (you mentioned it as an example) - what you're trying to say is that when Dems point that out it's actually the dems that does it - not the original dog-whistle.

Seriously. Occams razor is your friend.

Take your bullcrap and put it back where the sun don't shine.

Persuasive argument; freeinpa liked to do that too when he couldn't put together a functional counterargument. Paulejb simply runs in circle and declare victory - you throw out pointless insults.

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Ob

BOTH parties do it.  And anyone who says otherwise is either STUPID or blind and deaf.  

Take your bullcrap and put it back where the sun don't shine.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Rod

You're calling the dog whistle actions of GOP subtexts for democrats. That makes no sense. What you're trying is the typical rightwing fallacy idiocy - that the dog-whistle actions of righties are actually democrats fault because you propose that the take way message to regular folks is actually the dog-whistle action, not the original message.

"Did you hear Mitt Romney is a RACIST?" Dog whistle to all those not white in the Democrat Party.

Take this idiocy. Righties says something typical dog-whistle stupid but you then propose that the take away message to people who notices is actually the original dog-whistle (hey look - the righties are using racist subtext!) and not the racist subtext itself - such as Obama as a voodoo doctor with a bone through his nose.

Seriously Rod. Think more.

53underscore3
53underscore3

Watching the GOP tear itself apart is like watching Zaphod Beeblebrox in a cage match.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Stopped scrolling through comments to "Like" HG2TG reference. Well played, fitty!

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I think this shows that this CANNOT be a one issue election about the economy alone. I am outraged by all the bills on women's reproductive rights. Obama was right, this is about the future of America.

Romney and Ryan want to deregulate Wall street but they want to REGULATE women's wombs and control all our reproductive issues. No wonder they did not pass any jobs bills. Person-hood and criminalizing invitro-fertilization??

Romney's two sons had children by invitro-fertilization, so should their wives have been jailed, per Ryans bill?

Romney will not show his taxes but claims he is the National economic savior. Meanwhile, he gives the electorate the collective finger when asked for proof of his own financial stewardship in the form of tax returns. He also lied about his residence to us in MA, and claimed that he and his wife lived in his son's basement since he had no home in the State at the time he claimed he lived there.  Romney ist ein Lügner!!!!!

Worse still, now, it comes out that Ryan is a nut case who still lives in the 19th century, and thinks he should control women's wombs, redefine rape to be FORCIBLE RAPE????, and restrict women's  reproductive rights??

This election is far far more important than I thought.  I hope Romney loses in a landslide!!

sacredh
sacredh

I always thought a beach ball held between.....no, wait. That makes it easier.

bobell
bobell

How do you know that, sacred?

sacredh
sacredh

I ran with the wrong crowd.

Dan5404
Dan5404

When he made this controversial statement...he raped the truth.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

Legitimately?  I can't believe what stupid clowns can be elected to Congress.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Really?  Wait until you see the incoming Congress!!!

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

One wonders if Mr. Akin's would consider it a "legitimate rape" if his daughter had been slipped a drug at a party and passed out, only to discover a month or two later that she was pregnant because a bunch of guys had sex with her while she was out because it wasn't "forcible" as he defined it (a violent confrontation).  One also wonders if he would want his daughter to raise the offspring of some unknown man who had attended that party and partook of the crime and be reminded on a daily basis that she had been violated against her consent and will.

Considering the fact that way too often, right-wingers make rules they, themselves, seem to ignore all the time, it wouldn't surprise me if he went to pay for her to get an abortion.

Rape is rape, whether it's "forcible" or not.  And the above scenario happens a hell of a lot more often that those involving rape at knife or gunpoint.

But what do you expect from a political position which has elevated a political rallying ploy to that of a religion and starts to believe its own propaganda? The result is a growing number of people who are willing to have faith in anything without regard to the facts.

53underscore3
53underscore3

Congrats on your like record, Fast. 

You stirred the pot this weekend!

Dan5404
Dan5404

It is nice to be a Democrat as you suggested.   We get to hear rational people speak unless you happen to be blogging.

Dan5404
Dan5404

He has to save face until the last few hours, then he will cave to the wishes of his now-non existent financial backers, and fade into oblivion.

Kevin Groenhagen
Kevin Groenhagen

Must be nice to be a Democrat. They're held to a much lower standard:

http://www.startribune.com/pol...

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 No one is EVER held to a lower standard than you, Kevin.  Called anybody's employers and outed them, lately?

MomentoMori
MomentoMori

Do you support Akin or are you just trying to change the subject as quickly as possible?

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

KGROGEN: Yeah, blahblah blah That is what I hear on Fox News.  However, since I do not live in a cocoon, I also read and watch other forms of political media. I have also seen some statistics that support this view and others that dispel it.

It is the conservatives "poor me" claim, I think it is baseless and stupid, and I am Conservative. I see nothing incontrovertible that supports this "poor me" view. To make matters worse, Fox News does more partisan coverage than 10 media outlest put together. So  Conservatives should not be complaining.

Fox News has also scared the elderly "Fox news only" watching Republicans that in my Southern Red State.  It is so bad because despite Fox News, aka "Romney elections support network" station's best effort to terrify Seniors about everything Obama, the Seniors still fear that Romney is not only a non-Christian but also the anti Christ.

And since many of these elderly (seniors) believe that Obama is a Muslim,so much so they are frightened to vote at ALL,  it is projected for now that the Democrats might to win  some areas in my State that were Republican strong holds.  :)

We are a red state, however, I am so HAPPY that Fox News and all the Far Right MANIACS are getting their payback for their fear and lie mongering.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

If there ever was a case of false equivalency, your example is it.  Grand Prize.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

This guy is on the House committee on Science, Space, and Technology and he doesn't know what any student in a 10th grade health class knows about how the female reproductive system works?

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Y'mean aspirin doesn't work either???