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Entries in Todd Akin (25)

Friday
Jan112013

Rep. Gingrey Says Todd Akin ‘Partly Right’ on ‘Legitimate Rape’

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- “Legitimate rape,” the least-expected controversy of 2012, is back.

At a breakfast with businesspeople in Cobb County, Georgia, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) offered a partial defense-medical exegesis of the whole kerfuffle over Todd Akin, the Missouri congressman and Senate candidate who stirred up the national campaign pot last year with his claim that women’s bodies could prevent pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape.”

Gingrey is a conservative congressman who worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist. He made the comments at a breakfast Thursday hosted by the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Marietta Daily Journal’s Jon Gilooly reported:

“And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ – and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say, ‘I was raped’: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”

Gingrey pointed out that he had been an ob-gyn since 1975.

“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things,” he’s quoted as saying. “It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right, wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

Of Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who suggested pregnancies from rape are intended by God, Gingrey reportedly said, “Mourdock basically said, ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially.’ Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election.”

When asked whether the quotes were accurate, Gingrey’s communications director, Jen Talaber, said she was not at the meeting but that she has called reporter Gilooly to inquire.

Gingrey has already said his comments are being misconstrued as a defense of Akin and Mourdock.

“At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign,” Gingrey said Friday in a statement Talaber provided to ABC News.

“I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov072012

Claire McCaskill Wins Missouri Senate Race

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images | Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- ABC News projects that Sen. Claire McCaskill has won her re-election race, as Republicans have seen another prime pickup opportunity slip away in 2012.

The Missouri senator scored her first victory of the race when Todd Akin won a three-way primary.  Among the GOP field, Akin polled the worst against McCaskill in potential general-election matchups.  Seeing an opportunity, McCaskill aired TV ads in the state that purported to attack Akin, but lauded his conservative credentials in a not-so-subtle attempt to bolster him in the primary.

McCaskill won her second victory when Akin made his fateful "legitimate rape" comment in August -- the biggest misstep by any candidate in 2012, one that reverberated throughout other Republican races and drew Akin condemnation from the highest levels of his party.

Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn all called on Akin to exit his race.

The incumbent won her third major victory on Sept. 25, when Akin officially weathered the pressure to exit and remained the GOP's candidate -- whether they liked it or not -- with the passage of his withdrawal deadline.

Akin made strides to recover from his big mistake, working to shore up support among social conservatives and telling Missouri voters that he agreed with them on most issues.  But it wasn't enough.

Republicans had eyed Missouri as a prime pickup opportunity from the beginning of the election cycle.  Faced with 23 Democratic Senate seats and only 10 Republican seats up for election, Missouri figured into their expectation of moving a chunk of the Senate into the red column, possibly enough to retake control of the Senate.

But "rape" comments might have proved their undoing in two states.  After Akin made national headlines, Indiana treasurer Richard Mourdock made his own when he suggested pregnancies from rape were something "God intended."

Republicans' problem in Indiana might have more to do with unseating a six-term incumbent, Sen. Dick Lugar, with the tea-partier Mourdock in a primary taking a safe GOP candidate off the board.  But "rape" was the issue in Missouri.

Women voted 56 percent for McCaskill, who won 67 percent of the moderate vote.  Akin's comment clearly helped McCaskill capture the middle: 21 percent of voters said Akin's "rape" comment was the single most important issue for them when they voted, while 40 percent said it was one of several important factors.

Akin made his plea for Missouri voters to forgive and forget.  But in a state that's considered more red than purple, a major misstep has cost Republicans a vital vote in the Upper Chamber.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

Biden Scolds GOP Ticket for Not Having ‘Moral Courage’ to Condemn Mourdock, Akin

JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages(KENOSHA, Wis.) – Vice President Joe Biden commented for the first time Friday on the two Republican Senate candidates who made controversial comments about women and rape.  Biden scolded Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan for not taking a harsher stance against Senate candidates Todd Akin (Missouri) and Richard Mourdock (Indiana).

“Here’s the truth, they made it very, very clear, made it very clear that they do not believe a woman has a right to control her own body. They can’t even, they can’t even get up the gumption to condemn the statements made by two of their candidates for United States Senate,” Biden told the crowd at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

“It’s not enough to tell me you don’t agree. It’s having the moral courage to stand up and say what they said was wrong, simply wrong,” he added.

Earlier this week, Mourdock said during a debate against his Democratic rival in Indiana that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”

Romney recently appeared in an advertisement on behalf of Mourdock, but since the incident, he has not asked him to pull the campaign ad.  A spokesperson for Romney has said the candidate disavows Mourdock’s statement regarding rape.

“Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock’s comments do not reflect Gov. Romney’s views. We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him,” Andrea Saul, spokesperson for Romney, said in a statement Wednesday.

The Republican presidential candidate ignored questions from reporters about Mourdock’s comments during a stop in Cincinnati on Thursday and has yet to answer any questions on the topic.

President Obama rebuked Mourdock’s comments in an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday.

“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas,” Obama said on the show. “Let me make a very simple proposition, rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me.”

In August, Akin said that “legitimate rape” does not normally lead to pregnancy.  At the time, Biden did not comment on the Akin case, but Romney and Ryan did ask for Akin to step down from the race.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Missouri Senate Race: Akin, McCaskill Square Off in Second Debate

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images | Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(ST. LOUIS) -- The candidates' agendas were plain in Thursday's Missouri Senate debate: Sen. Claire McCaskill sought to come off as moderate while her challenger, Rep. Todd Akin, sought to tie an Obama friendship bracelet around her wrist.

Their clash at Clayton High School in St. Louis followed the same script their campaign has taken since Akin won his primary, rife with barbs about health care reform, Medicare and the 2009 stimulus bill -- all levied, on both sides, as accusations of hyper-partisanship.

"It's moderate vs. conservative, moderate vs. extreme," McCaskill said during her opening remarks.

"Claire McCaskill was the first to endorse Barack Obama, and she was a strong right hand passing legislation, voting with him 98 percent of the time," Akin said during his.

But aside from those staid themes in this reddening purple state, McCaskill debuted a new attack -- that Akin personally pays women less than men -- and Akin endured a mini-stumble reminiscent of Rick Perry's infamous "oops," while appearing to have recovered publicly from the "legitimate rape" comment that shook his campaign.

McCaskill New Attack

McCaskill debuted a brand new attack line against Akin in the final moments of their debate on Thursday: that as a boss, Akin pays women less than men.

"He supports the boss being able to decide whether you get paid less just because you're a woman," McCaskill said during her closing remarks.  "And if you look at Congressman Akin's office, he's a boss that does that: His women staff make 23.4 percent less than the men in his office."

McCaskill's campaign blasted out a press release as McCaskill said it, citing data from the congressional staff-salary database LegiStorm culled from 2001-2010.

Akin's congressional office said it is not true that Akin pays women less categorically and pointed to the last quarter, in which women in Akin's office made more than men by $3,158 on average over four months, according to LegiStorm data pulled by Akin's office Thursday night.

"I think it's interesting that an auditor would chop off the last several years," said Akin's communications director and district director, Steve Taylor, referencing McCaskill's career as Missouri state auditor before her 2006 election to the Senate.  Taylor called the accounting "somewhat disingenuous."

"If it did occur, it was not a matter of policy, because we see that's not the case now ... There's been no change in policy in the Akin office, there's been no change in environment," Taylor said.  "If you look at what's going on now, that really dispels the notion that there's a policy of paying female workers less."

A Rick Perry Replay?


"We should stop giving money to Libya, to Pakistan, and to one other country," Akin said, trailing off and unable to remember the third.

"Syria," McCaskill interjected.

Well, it wasn't quite a Rick Perry "oops" moment, but Akin's forgetfulness did raise its specter as the two sparred over foreign policy and foreign aid.

RandPAC, a group supporting Sen. Rand Paul, released a TV ad this week attacking McCaskill for voting to send aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan.  So neither of them were exactly right.

Akin Asked About 'Rape' Comment, Kind Of

On the hanging topic of his infamous "rape" comment, Akin has gone from abject apologies to comfortable retort.

The word "rape" was not mentioned in any question at the debate, but the candidates were asked what the national press will say about Missouri voters if Akin wins.

"I've had a chance to travel for 18 months, and I've got a pretty good sense of where people are," Akin said.  "My views are pretty much in sync with the voters of this state, and what's more, I've opposed the failed record and the failed policies which have given us the unemployment, the lack of jobs, and other miscellaneous problems such as gasoline prices doubling."

It's unclear if Akin has rebounded in popularity since his rape comment since no pollsters deemed reliable by ABC News have polled potential voters in Missouri.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct022012

Unlike Other Republicans, Mitt Romney Still Opposes Todd Akin

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Don’t count Mitt Romney among Todd Akin’s sudden allies.

Romney stands by his opposition to the Missouri Senate candidate, according to an adviser, despite the conversion of many Republicans since the passing of the deadline for Akin to withdraw, among them several prominent Missouri Republicans including Sen. Roy Blunt and former governor and senator Kit Bond.

“When Congressman Akin made those remarks, he disagreed with them entirely and could not stand by them and that hasn’t changed,” Romney adviser Kevin Madden told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Tuesday in a televised interview. “I can’t speak for Gov. Bond and Sen. Blunt, but Gov. Romney has made his position very clear on that and it has not changed.”

Two days after Akin’s now-infamous “rape” comment, Romney -- along with Blunt, Bond and many other Republicans -- called on the Missouri Senate candidate to withdraw his bid.

“Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country,” Romney said in a prepared statement in August. “Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.”

Last week, both Blunt and Bond endorsed Akin. A former pariah, Akin has received a wave of support since his withdrawal deadline expired last week.

Almost as soon as Republicans were officially stuck with Akin as their candidate, the National Republican Senatorial Committee reversed its stance and endorsed him, after publicly calling on him to step aside. Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Sen. Jim DeMint, and the DeMint-founded Senate Conservatives Fund have all lent their backing to his campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct012012

Sen. Blunt: Todd Akin Could Still Win in Missouri

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” have caused some to question whether he is a legitimate candidate for Senate in Missouri where he is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill.  But several top Senate Republicans still believe that Akin can win in November.

“Todd may well yet win,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Blunt at first said Akin should give up his run after the rape comments drew fire, but now he and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have expressed support for his campaign, although the NRSC is still holding back monetary contributions.

Republicans increase their overall chances of regaining control of the Senate if Akin defeats incumbent McCaskill.  Many other races for Republican-held Senate seats are tightening and the stakes are high, according to Blunt.

“The national issues are big enough that we need to have an discussion of those issues rather than the ones Todd managed to bring to the table,” Blunt said.  “I think at the end of the day, that race does largely become a debate about the majority in the Senate.”

If Republicans take control of the Senate in November that change-up would likely stall President Obama’s agenda, should he win re-election.  If Mitt Romney wins, controlling the Senate will be key to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Blunt isn’t the only Republican to back Akin.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee hasn’t stopped supporting Akin.  And Republican Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma are hosting a fundraiser for Akin on Wednesday, according to an invitation obtained by Politico.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep192012

Newt Gingrich to Fundraise for Todd Akin

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ST. LOUIS) -- Newt Gingrich will be in St. Louis on Monday, fundraising for Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, a source close to the former House speaker confirmed.

“If the Akin campaign can use his appearance to reach out through online fundraising, this can help,” the source said. “There will be no establishment $2,500 checks for Akin…If he is going to build it, it will be one dollar at a time — and time he is running out of.”

Nearly every prominent Republican, including Mitt Romney, distanced themselves from Akin when he made comments last month that he believes it is rare for a woman to conceive after a “legitimate rape.” Akin later apologized. Notably, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Gingrich have defended the shunned congressman.

“I think Todd Akin was the choice of the people in Missouri, and Todd Akin has publicly apologized,” Gingrich said. “I just think people ought to be a little cautious about saying the voters of Missouri don’t count.”

Gingrich could also have a monetary benefit behind defending Akin. Akin’s senate campaign is one of the many purchasers of Gingrich’s large email list, one way Gingrich is paying down the debt from his failed presidential campaign.

Akin will face Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug312012

Todd Akin’s Office ‘Disturbed’ by Karl Rove’s Joke

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Republican Party may want Todd Akin to disappear, but a dark joke made by GOP strategist Karl Rove has hit a nerve with the congressman’s office.

“We should sink Todd Akin,” Rove said at a fundraiser during the Republican National Convention, according to a Bloomberg News report. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

[Read that report here.]

The congressional office of the six-term congressman and Senate candidate from Missouri responded Friday afternoon, suggesting the joke was in dangerously bad taste, given recent threats against Akin and his family.

Akin drew national attention to the Missouri race after his controversial comments about rape and abortion, when he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

“Given the current FBI investigation of threats against Congressman Akin and calls for acts of violence and rape against his family and staff, joking as to the potential murder of Congressman Akin is deeply disturbing.  I am certain he misspoke,” Akin’s district director, Steve Taylor, said in a written statement released on Friday.

Soon after Akin’s remarks about rape and pregnancy, Capitol Police acknowledged an investigation into threats against Akin, and in a press conference last week, his first since making the remarks about rape, Akin said threats had been made against him and his family, including threats of rape.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug272012

Pa. Senate Candidate Backs Off Unplanned Pregnancy-Rape Comparison

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- Faced with a question about fellow Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s inflammatory remarks about “legitimate rape,” Pennsylvania’s Tom Smith Monday likened his own daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy to rape.

Smith quickly backed off the statement, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News reported, when pressed by reporters about whether he meant to conflate the two.

“No, no, no,” Smith said, before seeming to qualify his defense: “Put yourself in a father’s position,” he said. “Yes, I mean it is similar.”

It’s unclear how old his daughter was at the time.

Asked again, the candidate backed off a second time, denying that he had drawn any correlation between rape and an unplanned pregnancy achieved by a consenting man and woman.

“No, I did not say that,” Smith, 64, told the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon crowd. “I said I went through a situation. It’s very, very difficult. But do I condone rape? Absolutely not.”

He then pivoted to his anti-abortion position, saying, “A life is a life and it needs protecting. Who’s going to protect it? We have to. I believe life begins at conception. I’m not going to argue about the method of that conception.

“It’s life. And I’m pro-life. It’s that simple.”

Contacted by ABC News, campaign officials were adamant that Smith was only addressing the difficult decision that his family faced, and not the way his daughter became pregnant. One adviser pointed to audio records of Monday’s exchange, which can be found at PoliticsPA.com.

In a statement, communications director Megan Piwowar wrote: "Tom Smith is committed to protecting the sanctity of life and believes it begins at conception.  While his answers to some of the questions he faced at the Pennsylvania Press club may have been less than artful, at no time did he draw the comparison that some have inferred. When questioned if he was drawing that comparison, Tom’s answer was clear, ‘no, no, no.’”

This was not the first time Smith was asked to comment on the Akin controversy.

On Aug. 20, Piwowar told The Morning Call: “Tom Smith disagrees strongly with Congressman Akin’s comment …in no way does Congressman Akin’s comments reflect the pro-life community’s thoughts and views on women who are victims of rape.”

Smith, a retired congressman from the state’s 128th district, has trailed popular Sen. Bob Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat, by nearly 20 points in recent polls.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug242012

Todd Akin at News Conference: I’m Staying in the Race

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ST. LOUIS, M.O.) -- Todd Akin’s message to Missouri: I’m staying in the race.

Akin, the sixth-term Republican congressman who is running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, held his first news conference on Thursday after top Republicans heaped pressure on him to withdraw as a candidate following his controversial comments on rape and pregnancy.

“Apparently there are some people who are having trouble understanding my message,” Akin said during brief remarks at a press conference in St. Louis County, announced only hours before it began. “I’d like to be clear … today that we’re going to be here through the November election, and we’re going to be here to win.”

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman and Texas Sen. John Cornyn and at least 10 other U.S. senators have asked Akin to withdraw.

Missouri GOP luminaries, including former senator Jack Danforth and former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft, also have called on Akin to drop from the race.

Akin sparked the controversy last weekend by suggesting, in a local TV interview that cases of “legitimate rape” rarely result in pregnancy. Akin has since apologized in multiple radio interviews and in a TV ad released on Tuesday. Akin has also explained that by “legitimate” he was referring to forcible rape.

“You know, one of the things I’ve realized through the years: I  may not be the favorite candidate of some people within the Republican establishment, but the voters make the decision,” Akin said. “This is an election. It’s not a selection.”

Akin said threats have been made against him and his family. The Capitol Police confirmed to media outlets this week that it was investigating them.

Akin sought to return to his campaign message, drawing a contrast between himself and incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“The America that I represent is an America that has more freedom and more jobs -- an America with less bureaucracy, less big government, less taxes and a bright hope for the future,” he said. “The America that Claire McCaskill has given us is an America that has less freedom, less jobs, more big government and the same stalled economy.”

As Akin seeks to recover from the controversy, his fundraising will be closely watched and his campaign has launched an online fundraising drive to help the congressman fend off pressure to withdraw. Since launching the campaign, Akin has raised over $125,000, according to his website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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