Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 29, 2014

Republicans Pile On Criticism of Todd Akin’s Rape Comment

Republicans Pile On Criticism of Todd Akins Rape Comment

Sen. Scott Brown (above) called on Rep. Todd Akin to relinquish his Senate nomination after his controversial remarks about rape. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On day two of the media firestorm around Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) comments about rape, the Republican Senate nominee is discovering that his harshest critics are not Democrats, but members of his own party.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) was restrained in her criticism of her opponent this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The incident has breathed new life into her campaign for re-election.

Instead, it is Republicans in tough fall races who are piling on:

    • Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) called on Akin to resign his Senate nomination this morning. In a statement, Brown wrote: “As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin’s comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong. There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin’s statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri.” Brown is in a fierce Tossup race with Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren and female voters are a key constituency.
    • In a late Sunday night press release, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) wrote: “As a pro-life conservative, a husband, and a father of two young women, I find Representative Akin’s remarks to be offensive and reprehensible. There is no such thing as a ‘legitimate rape.’ I condemn Representative Akin’s statements in the strongest possible terms.” Rehberg is challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D) in a Tossup race.
    • Rep. Jeff Flake (R), who is closing in on his party’s nomination for Arizona Senate tweeted Sunday night, “I oppose abortion, but exceptions must be made for rape, incest and to protect life of the mother. Cong. Akin’s comment was wrong.” Flake will likely win his party’s nomination and face former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) in a Leans Republican race.
    • George Allen, a former governor and Senator from Virginia, released a statement this morning: “While Congressman Akin may have addressed his statement, like many men and women I strongly disapprove of his original comments and the sentiments behind them. Having served on a Rape Crisis Board many years ago, I saw how both physically and emotionally harmful rape is for its victims, and this is why I believe there should be an exception for rape. As Governor, I took those experiences from my time on the Board as well as other experiences and made establishing truth in sentencing and abolition of lenient, dangerous parole a top priority to crack down on rapists and other violent offenders. Regardless of party, we all have a responsibility to unite against any leniency on crimes against women and turn our focus to the solutions that make America stronger and safer.” Allen is running against former Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in a Tossup open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D).

The Allen comments are especially noteworthy, given the context of his 2006 re-election race for Senate. He was captured on video using what many deemed to be a racial slur. It was the turning point for his own campaign. He has since apologized.

Many are beginning to wonder whether the Akin comment will be a turning point in the battle for control of the Senate in November’s elections.

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