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Entries in Todd Akin (25)

Friday
Aug242012

Todd Akin, His Family and Staff Receive Threats

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Congressman Todd Akin’s office said on Thursday that multiple death and rape threats have been made against the lawmaker, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in his home state of Missouri.

Spokesman Steve Taylor announced that “over the last couple of days, there’s been threats of rape of staff, the congressman’s family, and suggestions that people die.”

There was also a report of someone saying they would “legitimately rape” Akin’s wife, a reference to a statement the anti-abortion congressman made that it’s difficult for women to become pregnant in the case of “legitimate rape.”

Taylor said that Capitol Police and the FBI were looking into “which threats are accurate and how to contextualize them.”

A St. Louis TV station first broke the story that “multiple people have threatened rape and harm against Akin, his staff and family.”

Akin’s remarks created a firestorm that prompted GOP leaders to urge him to drop out of the race against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.  However, Akin, after a lengthy apology, says he will remain a candidate for the Senate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug242012

Todd Akin to Claire McCaskill: You Should Drop Out

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- After days of ignoring Republican pleas to abandon his U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin on Thursday received an even more damning message: A new Rasmussen poll shows that Akin, who held a tidy lead before making his controversial comments about rape and pregnancy, is now down 10 percentage points (48-38 percent) to incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Never fazed, the Akin campaign shot back with an unlikely proposal.

“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48 percent after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is,” Akin spokesman Perry Akin said in a statement.  “If she can’t break 50 percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down.”

McCaskill, whose political career might well have been saved by Akin’s moment of madness, went online to cast doubt on the validity of the survey.

“Rasmussen poll made me laugh out loud,” she tweeted.  “If anyone believes that, I just turned 29.  Sneaky stuff.”

McCaskill then linked to a story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claiming Rasmussen, with its ties to high-powered Republican operatives like Karl Rove, had intentionally stretched the spread in an effort to push Akin out of the race.

The final deadline for Akin to withdraw is Sept. 25.  After that, his name cannot be replaced on the ballot.  But there is no indication he’s even considering it.

On Thursday, he reported on his Facebook page, ”Thousands and thousands of people have stepped up today and helped us raise over $100,000 in donations as small as $3.  The message is loud and clear… the people of Missouri believe they should pick candidates, not party bosses or Washington elites.”

The six-term congressman was also trying to rally another $25,000 in donations by midnight.

Akin began his renewed campaign push on Twitter Wednesday, asking followers to “[Retweet] this if you won’t let the liberal elite push you around!” and, “A lot of negativity has been driven my way by the liberal elite.  Makes me even more thankful for your support #stillstanding.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Todd Akin Opens Door to Possible Exit from Missouri Senate Race

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican Congressman Todd Akin opened the door to a possible exit from Missouri's Senate race on Wednesday, saying he doesn't know the future.

“Well George, I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen.  I don’t know the future, but I do know this.  I know that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision,” Akin told ABC's Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos.  “And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process.”

Republicans are lining up to ask Akin to drop out, including Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. The chairman of the Republican Party has also asked Akin not to attend next week’s convention in Tampa, Fla.

Akin told Stephanopoulos he will honor the wishes of Reince Priebus and not attend the convention, but insists he can still win the Senate seat.  He’s staying in the race because of how he won the primary -- running on his principles.

“We’ve given this a lot of thought. The fact is that over more than a year period of time, a number of us ran in this Republican primary. Each of us had our messages.  I was outspent by a large amount in terms of media.  And yet by standing on principle and putting politics aside and talking about the foundations of this country, the people of Missouri chose me to be their candidate,” he said.

The Republican Party and Super PACs have pulled their money from his campaign after Akin said “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” on a local TV station Sunday.

Akin has since apologized for his comment, telling Stephanopoulos Wednesday morning that “the word legitimate doesn’t ever have a good reason to be standing next to rape.  There is no rape that is legitimate.”

The congressman, who sits on the House Science Committee, also admits that statement was medically wrong.

“The point of the matter is that, yes, pregnancy can happen as a result of rape. I understand that and I’ve acknowledged that fact. At the same time I don’t apologize for the fact that I’m consistently pro-life. I believe in defending the unborn and I believe that based on those kinds of principles I can win this race,” he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Paul Ryan Refuses to Explain 'Forcible' Rape

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The comments of Todd Akin are bringing scrutiny -- goosed by Democrats and the Obama campaign -- to the views on social issues of the GOP ticket.

On Tuesday alone, the Obama campaign blasted out an email from women’s health care activist Sandra Fluke referring to “Akin, Romney and Ryan”; over a Paul Ryan rally in Pennsylvania, Moveon.org flew a banner referring to “Romney, Ryan and Akin” being bad for women; and when the Republican party reaffirmed its anti-abortion plank, making no mention of exceptions for cases of rape or incest, the Obama campaign repeatedly referred to it as the “Akin Amendment.”

Wednesday morning brings the latest example: attention to that “forcible rape” language in legislation co-sponsored by Akin, Ryan (and 225 other members of the House). The legislation, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” restricted the exceptions to “an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest” for federally-funded abortions. That language was changed.

In an interview to air Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh on KDKA-TV, Ryan refused to even engage in a discussion of what “forcible” rape -- as opposed to other kinds, such as statutory rape -- meant.

Ryan said that Akin’s “statements were outrageous, over the pail.  I don’t know anybody who would agree with that.  Rape is rape period, end of story.”

Ryan opposes abortions in all cases except for when the life of the mother is at stake, which is different from Mitt Romney’s position -- Romney would also carve out exceptions for rape and incest.

“I’m proud of my pro-life record,” Ryan said.  “And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress.  It’s something I’m proud of.  But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”

“You sponsored legislation that has the language ‘forcible rape,’” KDKA's Political Editor Jon Delano noted in the interview. “What is forcible rape as opposed…”

“Rape is rape,” Ryan interrupted.  “Rape is rape, period.  End of story.”

“So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?” Delano asked.

“Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape,” Ryan said.

Ryan also scoffed at Obama campaign suggestions that he and Romney would restrict access to birth control.

“Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody,” he said, arguing that voters are not “going to take the bait of all these distractions that the president is trying to throw at them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Todd Akin Defies Top Republicans, Refuses to Quit

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a last ditch effort, Mitt Romney asked Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race today because of Akin's controversial comments about rape.

Romney weighed in after Akin rebuffed pressure from the Republican's vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan to consider quitting the race. Romney and Ryan were the latest in a series of top Republicans, including five current and former Missouri senators, who urged Akin to withdraw.

"Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside," Romney said in a statement. "I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race." Romney had earlier condemned Akin's comments, but a top Romney aide had told ABC News Monday that the presidential candidate did not intend to ask Akin to leave the race.

So far, Akin has refused fellow Republicans' requests that he get off the ballot, vowing to fight on into the fall.

"Let me make it absolutely clear," Akin said on Mike Huckabee's radio show. "We're going to continue with this race for the U.S. Senate."

Akin had until 6 p.m. ET today to withdraw, but showed no signs of budging.

Ryan called Akin Monday and the two spoke for about five minutes, a Republican source familiar with the call told ABC News.

"He didn't ask him to get out," the source said. "He said, basically, 'You need to reflect on this and think about what is best for you, your family and things you believe in.'"

Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck would not comment on the call.

"If Ryan was sent to convince him to get out of the race, he failed," the source said.

Instead, Akin posted an online video seeking "forgiveness" for saying that women rarely get pregnant from what he called "legitimate rape."

"By taking this stand, this is going to strengthen our country," he told Huckabee, calling in to the show for the second straight day. "It will strengthen the Republican Party."

High-ranking GOP officials fear Akin's inflammatory words have sunk his chances of winning the Missouri race and may also scuttle Republicans' hopes of taking control of the Senate.

Earlier today, Akin gained an unlikely ally in the form of Democratic rival Sen. Claire McCaskill. McCaskill, who is trailing Akin in the polls, said that Republican leaders should not be trying to overturn the results of the Republican primary that made Akin their candidate.

The National Republican Senate Committee questioned McCaskill's motives.

"It should not be lost on anyone that some of the only voices not calling for Congressman Akin to do the right thing and step aside are Claire McCaskill and the leaders of the pro-abortion movement," they said in a statement. "Senator McCaskill knows that the only way she wins re-election is if Todd Akin is her opponent in November."

Among the big-name Republicans asking Akin to quit are his would-be colleagues, including Missouri's junior senator Roy Blunt, who issued a joint statement together with former Missouri U.S. senators John Ashcroft, Kit Bond, John Danforth, and Jim Talent. "The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside," they wrote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Maine's Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Richard Burr of North Carolina have all joined the chorus.

McConnell called Akin's initial remarks a "deeply offensive error at a time when his candidacy carries great consequence for the future of our country... To continue serving his country in the honorable way he has served throughout his career, it is time for Congressman Akin to step aside."

On Monday, Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Texas's John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senate Committee, urged Akin to step aside. Additional pressure came from Karl Rove's powerful Crossroads GPS Super PAC which said it will pull all of its money out of Missouri if Akin stays in and the Tea Party Express which released a statement calling for Akin to "step down."

Akin tried to salvage his candidacy today by releasing a video asking voters for "forgiveness."

"Rape is an evil act" and "the mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold," Akin tells voters in the video.

"Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," the campaign said yesterday, before dialing up the rhetoric.

Earlier today, the Republican National Convention approved a plank in their platform advocating for the passage of the "Human Life Amendment," which would ban abortion in all circumstances, even in cases of rape or incest.

It employs the same language that was used in the party platform in 2004 and 2008.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Todd Akin Asks for Forgiveness in New Ad

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Amid growing pressure for him to drop out of Missouri's Senate race, Rep. Todd Akin released a new ad Tuesday asking for forgiveness over remarks he made about women rarely becoming pregnant from "legitimate rape."

"Rape is an evil act.  I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize," Akin says in the 30-second spot titled "Forgiveness."

The Republican congressman is referring to an interview with KTVI-TV that aired Sunday in which he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Those comments have led to a backlash from several Republicans, who are calling on Akin to exit the race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.  It has also caused the super PAC American Crossroads to pull funding for his campaign.

"As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault.  I pray for them.  The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy.  The truth is, rape has many victims," Akin says in the new ad.

"The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.  I ask for your forgiveness," the video concludes.

Akin has insisted he's staying in the race, telling Mike Huckabee's radio show on Monday that he is "not a quitter."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Todd Akin's Rape Remark Draws Tea Party Pressure for Him to Quit

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Pressure mounted on Rep. Todd Akin to quit his Missouri Senate race on Monday despite his repeated refusals to step down over his incendiary comments about rape.

Earlier in the day, moderate Republicans campaigning in bitterly contested battle ground states called on Akin to exit the race.  By late in the afternoon, conservative elements of the party, including an influential super PAC and the Tea Party Express, called on him to terminate his race for the good of the party.

Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said Akin's remarks that women rarely became pregnant from "legitimate rape" were "unfortunate and inappropriate" and added that they had become a distraction that would cost Republicans the chance to beat Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and ultimately any chance at winning the Senate.

"It is critical that we defeat Senator Claire McCaskill in November, but it will be too difficult to achieve that with Todd Akin as the conservative alternative.  He should step down and give conservatives a chance at taking back the Senate in November," Kremer said in a statement.

The legal deadline for Akin to withdraw his name from the ballot is 6 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday.

Akin, a Republican, insisted on Mike Huckabee's radio show Monday that he is staying in the race despite the furor over his comments that rape victims rarely get pregnant.

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said on Sunday.

Akin apologized for the remark on Monday and told Huckabee that he was "not a quitter," and still hoped to defeat McCaskill.

"I've really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong, and I need to apologize for those," he said.

"Let me be clear," Akin added.  "Rape is never legitimate.  It's an evil act that's committed by violent predators.  I used the wrong words in the wrong way."

When asked by Huckabee to clarify what he meant by "legitimate rape," Akin said, "I was talking about forcible rape and it was absolutely the wrong word."

CNN's Piers Morgan tweeted on Monday that Akin, the "biggest name of the day," was to appear live on Piers Morgan Tonight Monday night.  Morgan's show, however, opened at 9 p.m. with a shot of an empty chair.

Morgan said Akin's communications adviser agreed to book the interview and then pulled out "at the last possible moment ... leaving us and you looking at an empty chair."  Morgan said that Akin is still welcome to appear on the show, or be "what we would call in England a gutless, little twerp."

After Akin insisted on staying in the race, the powerful and well-funded conservative super PAC American Crossroads, founded by former President George W. Bush's aide Karl Rove, pulled funding for his campaign -- an attempt to exert pressure on him to quit or a tacit acknowledgement that he will now likely lose.

American Crossroads told ABC News that they "will not be spending in Missouri moving forward."  The group had spent $5.4 million and they had reserved at least $2.3 million more for the Missouri election.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Democrats Tie Ryan, Romney to Akin as ‘Dangerous’ for Women

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan scrambling to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape,” Democrats have seized on the moment to highlight what they say are Republicans’ outdated views on women.

Akin, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, told a local TV interviewer Sunday that he opposed abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, because victims of “legitimate rape” are unlikely to become pregnant.

“The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin told KTVI-TV.

The GOP presidential ticket, Romney and Ryan, swiftly condemned Akin, saying in a joint statement that they “disagree” with Akin’s  remarks and that their administration “would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”

But Democrats said  the  presumptive nominee and his running mate have a history of aligning with Akin on “extreme” positions, including legislation that would have redefined rape, banned abortion in all cases and cut off funding for abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood.

“While Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are working overtime to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on rape, they are contradicting their own records,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith.

“Every day, women across America grapple with difficult and intensely personal health decisions -- decisions that should ultimately be between a woman and her doctor,” she said.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Akin’s comments reflect a mindset in the Republican ranks that is “literally, dangerous for women.”

“Congressman Ryan has already partnered with Akin on a whole host of issues that restrict women’s ability to make their own health care decisions,” she said in an email blast to supporters Sunday night.  “This kind of ‘leadership’ is dangerously wrong for women -- and I can’t sit by and watch as these out-of-touch Republicans like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Todd Akin continue to roll back women’s rights.”

To be sure, legislation that would redefine rape and personhood has not passed the Republican-led House; measures to strip Planned Parenthood of federal family planning grants have fallen flat in the Senate.

Republicans, unapologetic about their anti-abortion stance, also emphasize that the Romney-Ryan ticket supports exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at stake.

Senior Romney campaign strategist Stuart Stevens told ABC News that he was confident that Democratic efforts to tie Ryan to Akin through their previous work together would not stick.

He also said Romney would not call on Akin to resign or pull out of the race in Missouri, adding, “that will have to play out on its own.”

But in an interview with ABC News affiliate WMUR-TV, Romney suggested Akin should think hard about about whether to end his Senate bid.  

“He should spend 24 hours considering what will best help the country at this critical time,” Romney said.

On that point, many top Democrats would agree.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

New Poll Shows Rep. Todd Akin Still Leads in Missouri Senate Race

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- In spite of the controversy surrounding Missouri Congressman Todd Akin because of remarks he made about women not becoming pregnant after a "legitimate rape," he still leads Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the race for her U.S. Senate seat.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) taken 24 hours after his statements finds Akin leading McCaskill, 44 percent to 43 percent, which might explain the reluctance of the Republican to drop out of the race even after pressure is mounting by GOP leaders for him to do just that.

The survey's results differ little from a PPP survey in May that showed Akin leading the incumbent, 45 percent to 44 percent.

Other state polls that were taken before Akin's statements last week have him with a more comfortable advantage over McCaskill.

While 75 percent of respondents in the latest PPP poll say that Akin's views on rape were inappropriate, the percentage of Republicans who said they will vote for him is virtually unchanged.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Romney and Ryan Condemn Skinny-Dipping Congressman, Rape Comment

Scott Olson/Getty Images

(BEDFORD, Mass.) -- Mitt Romney said he thinks a congressman’s late-night skinny-dipping episode in Israel last year was “reprehensible.”

News surfaced late Sunday that freshman Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galillee in Israel after a late night of drinking with other members of Congress and their families.  On Monday, both members of the GOP presidential ticket strongly rebuked them for their behavior.

“I think it’s reprehensible,” Romney said in an interview with ABC News’ New Hampshire affiliate WMUR.  “I think it’s another terrible mistake by individuals.”

Rep. Paul Ryan agreed with his running mate, saying what Yoder did was “unbecoming of a member of Congress.”

“It’s behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated. I think they know that,” Ryan said of the news, first reported by Politico and confirmed by ABC News.

Romney also distanced himself from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who is running for the Senate, for his incendiary comments about “legitimate rape.”  Romney called Akin’s words “indefensible.”

“He should understand that his words, with regards to rape, are words that I can’t defend, that we can’t defend, and we can’t defend him,” Romney said.

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In a local interview Sunday, talking about rape and abortion rights, Akin said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Several Republican leaders have called on Akin to get out of the race for Missouri Senate, but Romney didn’t go that far, telling WMUR “he should spend 24 hours considering what will best help the country at this critical time.”

Ryan, for his part,  said he and Romney share “a lot of the same cultures, a lot of the same experiences.”

“I’m a big hunter and fisherman, outdoorsman. I’ve skied Tuckerman Ravine when I was here in high school. So I think we have a lot in common, just from a personal standpoint,” Ryan said.

And as for the still contentious topic of the presumptive GOP nominee’s taxes he said his “returns are extensive.”

“The Democrats are trying to do their best to see if they can get people to think about something besides jobs and the economy and the president’s record, and frankly, the people of New Hampshire are smart enough to see a smokescreen when they see it,” Romney said.

Romney has released one year of tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 returns. The campaign says he will release the full return at some point before the election. Ryan released two years of tax returns on Friday.

After their joint interview, Romney traveled to Texas for fundraisers while Ryan met with campaign staff at headquarters in Boston. He also addressed an all-staff meeting in a trip that lasted over three and a half hours. According to a Romney aide, he thanked staff and his speech to campaign aides covered how important this election is as well as how excited he is to be part of the campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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