(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
Dan Berman, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN