Missouri’s embattled Repub Senate nominee Todd Akin put out an emergency 30-second spot asking for forgiveness for his legitimate-rape-seldom-causes-pregnancy statement. Here’s the video:
It’s all contrition by tone but, as often in such “I misspoke” cases, it’s all tone of contrition but Akin doesn’t actually take anything back, contradict anything he said before nor explain how he happened to misspeak the words he misspoke.
Akin was scheduled to appear on Piers Morgan’s CNN program last night, but he didn’t show, prompting Morgan to call Akin — on air — a “gutless little twerp.”
Two overnight polls on the race: Public Policy Polling finds that even though Akin’s approval rating is way below water (“only 24% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 58% with a negative one”), he still holds a statistically insignificant 1 point lead over incumbent Dem Sen. Clair McCaskill, which reflects how deeply unpopular the one-term incumbent has become and, the PPP writeup suggests, reflects the depth of partisan polarization.
Second poll, from SurveyUSA, indicates that 54 percent of Missourians think Akin should drop out, compared with 35 percent who say stay in.
Akin has until 5 p.m. today to withdraw to ensure that his party can smoothly appoint a successor candidate, but he continues to say on every occasion when he says anything, that he is “not a quitter,” and that he will stay in the race. He said on the Hannity radio show yesterday that he didn’t need until 5 p.m. to decide because he has already decided to stay in. If he withdraws after today, there are still mechanisms for him to be replaced on the ballot, but they are less guaranteed.
On Monday, Paul Ryan joined Mitt Romney in rejecting Akins comments and added they both favor an exception for rape victims in the abortion ban they support. But, according to the National Journal:
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 They cosponsored another measure, subsequently withdrawn, that would distinguish “forcible rape” in banning abortion funding.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.
In 2004 and 2008, the national Republican Party adopted a platform that calls for a “human life amendment” to the U.S. Constitution that would ban abortion and it mentions no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape. CNN’s Peter Henby has seen the current draft of this year’s platform and it says:
Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed… We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.
The draft platform is scheduled for a vote today.