Rumors are rampant that Todd Akin will withdraw from the US Senate race in Missouri, but that has not been confirmed at this point. All we know is that he dug himself a larger hole with his appearance on Mike Huckabee’s radio show:
“We all make mistakes,” Akin said, disowning his previous comments that victims of “legitimate rape” can somehow prevent getting pregnant. “The many people who supported me know that when you make a mistake what you need to do is say you’re sorry.” [...]
Akin said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that in the case of “legitimate rape” the female body can resist pregnancy and “has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Many doctors have disputed the statement, saying it has no scientific basis.
Akin said on Monday that he “was talking about forcible rape and it was exactly the wrong word.”
“Rape is never legitimate,” Akin added.
Akin apparently doesn’t understand why people are upset. Yes, legitimate rape is an odious term, but so is “forcible rape,” as if there’s some kind of non-forcible, playful rape out there. Statutory rape is a good enough term to make it distinct from, well, rape. There’s no need for “forcible” to get added in there.
The real wrench that Akin has thrown into the mix is that he’s confirmed that Paul Ryan believes in the “forcible rape” distinction as well:
Paul Ryan also co-sponsored HR 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill in which Republicans tried to redefine rape so that it only applied to “forcible” rape so those fake rape victims would stop exploiting loopholes to cash in on fabulous gifts and prizes. Republicans pulled that part out of the bill so everyone would stop criticizing them, and then they tried to sneak it back in anyway.
The President twisted the knife a bit today, speaking at a news conference and stating firmly that “rape is rape,” which is quite an amazing statement for a President to have to make.
“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.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Republican establishment is trying its best to get Akin to exit stage right. Sitting Senators want him to resign. The chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee thinks he should think long and hard about “what is best.” Crossroads GPS, which has spent millions bashing Claire McCaskill in Missouri, just pulled all its ads.
There’s actually a time frame here:
Akin, who is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill, has until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to withdraw without a court order, according to Missouri election law. That law allows candidates to leave the ballot 11 weeks before election day, otherwise he would need a court order, which he can get up until Sept. 25. The Republican state committee would have two weeks to name a replacement, under the law.
Anti-choice groups are still firmly behind Akin, and he pronounced himself “not a quitter” today, so I wouldn’t necessarily count him out.
UPDATE: Akin now says he won’t quit. That’ll show ‘em! You go, Todd Akin!
UPDATE II: Akin spokesman Ryan Hite says to CNN: “On record: Akin is not dropping out of this race.”