(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.
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
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Gregory Krieg, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune