Do Akin's rape comments put GOP ticket in harm's way?

Published on August 22, 2012 at 5:53 AM · No Comments

News outlets analyze the potential repercussions to Mitt Romney's presidential bid by the statements made by Missouri Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin. Also examined is presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's co-sponsorship of legislation with Akin, including one that would give legal protection to an embryo.

National Journal: Could Akin Damage The Top Of The GOP Ticket?
Akin and Paul Ryan, House GOP colleagues, share a voting history on abortion rights, including mutual support for a controversial measure that would define embryos as a person. They cosponsored another measure, subsequently withdrawn, that would distinguish "forcible rape" in banning abortion funding. Akin, Ryan, and Mitt Romney also back less-controversial measures, such as defunding Planned Parenthood. That broader link gives Democrats a chance to push a debate about abortion and women's health back into the presidential race's limelight, putting the GOP ticket on the defensive over an issue it would rather avoid and with a group of voters, females, it has already struggled to attract (Roarty, 8/21).

Politico: Mitt Romney's Run From Todd Akin At Odds With Paul Ryan
The Romney campaign statement on Sunday keeps with the presumptive nominee's current position on abortion, which is in support of a ban with exemptions. But it is in clear contrast to Ryan's past embrace of a view that no pregnancy should be terminated after fertilization. Like Akin, Ryan is a co-sponsor of the "Sanctity of Human Life Act," a so-called personhood measure that defines life as beginning at "fertilization, cloning or its functional equivalent" and empowers the federal and state governments to pass laws to protect life from that point on. The bill makes no exception for rape. Ryan has voted in favor of a restriction on federal funding for abortions -; known as the Hyde Amendment -; that includes exceptions when a pregnancy results from rape or incest, or endangers the life of the mother (Allen, 8/20).

ABC (Video): Todd Akin's Rape Comments May Have Repercussions For Mitt Romney
While most of the debate over Ryan's policies have centered on his budget and proposed Medicare reforms, Akin's comment threatens to place the focus on social issues for Romney's new running mate. Republicans' eagerness to speak out against Akin may indicate that his comments tapped into a larger issue in the campaign. Democrats have previously taken aim at Romney's socially conservative stances and their effects on women. Akin's comments on rape threaten to distract from Romney's message about a lagging economy and President Obama's health care and stimulus plans, as well as blunt the buzz about Ryan's recent selection as vice presidential nominee or the run-up to next week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Good, 8/20).

The Hill: President Obama: 'Rape Is Rape'
President Obama on Monday called Rep. Todd Akin's remarks about rape "offensive" and sought to tie the Republican Senate candidate to the GOP presidential ticket. "Rape is rape," Obama said at a White House press briefing. He called Akin's comments "way out there." Defining rape, he said, "doesn't make sense to the American people and doesn't make sense to me." "What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, the majority of which are men, making decisions that affect health of women," Obama said (Easley and Parnes, 8/20).

The New York Times: As Romney Enjoys Ryan's Spark, Rivals Try To Fan It
But Mr. Ryan also brings a record in Congress that sets him apart from Mr. Romney, and on Monday his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, offered a reminder of the political dangers that sometimes come from embracing a running mate and his record. Already, Mr. Ryan's proposals to change Medicare had drawn attacks from President Obama and his Democratic allies. The ticket was forced to address abortion after Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, said in an interview on Sunday that women's bodies had ways to block unwanted pregnancies (Shear and Gabriel, 8/20).

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