Rep. Todd Akin has decided to stay in the Missouri race despite pressure from the Republican establishment to drop out, and, in an interview this morning, he says he received a phone call from Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan requesting personally that he quit for the good of the party — but Akin says he’s not going.
Akin’s stance on “legitimate rape” or forcible rape has sparked discussion about the GOP’s general plank on rape policy and whether there is an attempt at foot to erode the legal and common definitions of rape to undermine a woman’s position after she has experienced it and, presumably, by extension, her access to emergency contraception and perhaps abortion.
But whether or not the Republican party’s policies are reflected in the words spoken by Akin earlier this week, the Romney campaign and the GOP by extension are hoping to distance themselves from the position, a move Akin himself sees as bullying by the party.
“My message was one of standing on principle, not politics … So this was a decision by the citizens of our state, not by party bosses.”
Ryan, who has worked with Akin in the past on legislation pertaining to rape and abortion, has come out as softening his stance of abortion laws and rape, saying:
“I’m proud of my pro-life record … Mitt Romney’s going to be the president. The president sets the policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction. I’ll leave it at that.”
Akin told Lauer that he believes he can still win the race despite the controversy, but the potential effects on the presidential election from the rape brouhaha remains to be seen.