Missouri politician Todd Akin’s recent assertion that rape victims rarely get pregnant has elicited a fury of responses from pundits on all sides of the political spectrum, and now even the most powerful man in the land has weighed in. During a Monday morning meeting with reporters, President Barack Obama accepted questions on Akin’s controversial comments. “The views expressed were offensive,” Obama said. “Rape is rape.”
Obama’s criticism went beyond Akin’s apparent ignorance of female anatomy and addressed his use of the phrase “legitimate rape.” “The idea that we should be parsing, qualifying, and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people, and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama said, as quoted by The Washington Times.
The President is not alone in his denunciation of Akin. Even high-profile Republicans like Mitt Romney and Scott Brown have condemned Akin’s statement in order to distinguish the Congressperson’s opinion from that of the larger Republican party. Romney went as far as labeling Akin’s rape comments as “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.”
While Obama asserted that he did not believe that Romney would agree with Akin on this matter, he does believe that they are indicative of a “significant difference in approach” between Republicans and Democrats on the subject of women’s health. “What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians – a majority of whom are men – making healthcare decisions on behalf of women.”
Akin currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives for Missouri’s 2nd district, but is running for Senator. Prior to his comments this weekend, Akin was leading in the polls against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, although his popularity has presumably taken a hit since that time.
When it comes to whether Akin should drop out of his Senatorial race, Obama’s opinion is not quite as definitive. “He was nominated by the Republicans in Missouri; I’ll let them sort that out,” he said.
Though Akin, who has apologized for his comments, has stated that he intends to stay in the race, Yahoo reports that rumors from senior Republicans are emerging that he will in fact drop out by the official deadline of 5 pm Tuesday.
One person who may be sad to see him go is his opponent, McCaskill, who contributed two million dollars to Akin’s campaign during the Republican primary in the belief that he would be the easiest candidate to beat in a general election. While the gamble would probably pay off should Akin stay in the race, Republican pressure appears poised to “shut that whole thing down” – unlike a woman’s body during rape, as Akin had initially alleged.
Photo Credit: Pete Souza