Obama camp keeps Akin in play

2012-08-23 11:00
Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan flanked by Representative Todd Akin. (AP, File)

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan flanked by Representative Todd Akin. (AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Todd Akin on 'Legitimate Rape'

2012-08-20 15:12

US Senate hopeful Todd Akin has these shocking things to say about rape and abortion on a US talk show The Jaco Report.WATCH

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Washington - In crafting a response to Republican congressman Todd Akin's comments on rape, President Barack Obama and his aides are following Napoleon Bonaparte's age-old advice: Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

The White House and its Democratic allies have spotlighted Akin's remarks in their "war on women" drive against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney but have stopped short of joining a chorus of Republican leaders calling for the Missouri lawmaker to drop out of the race for the US Senate.

The Obama camp has good reason to want Akin to stay on the ballot. Its strategy is to allow the firestorm to sow division in the Republican ranks and create problems for Romney just before his party's national convention in Tampa next week, when he will be formally named its nominee.

The longer the drama rages - and keeps the focus away from the economy, Obama's most vulnerable point - the more the president may benefit in a tight race for the White House.

"Akin has become the lightning rod," said Bill Schneider, a political scientist at George Mason University in Virginia. "It's a chance for the Obama campaign to draw attention to Romney's problems on women's issues, as long as they avoid the impression that they're piling on."

Offering his own variation on Napoleon's maxim, Schneider said: "It's a case of 'don't get in the way if your opponent is in the process of committing suicide'."

Defiant Akin


The backlash began after Akin, an anti-abortion conservative, claimed in a weekend television interview that victims of "legitimate rape" have a natural mechanism to avoid pregnancy.

Akin, a member of the House of Representatives who is challenging Democratic US Senator Claire McCaskill in the 6 November election, has apologised.

But he insisted he will remain in the race to promote his anti-abortion beliefs, despite pressure from Romney and other top Republicans he called "the party bosses" to step aside for the good of his party. This has undercut Romney's authority as his party's standard-bearer.

Obama called Akin's comments offensive at an impromptu news conference on Monday, saying "rape is rape".

He was then was silent on the topic until the end of a two-day campaign swing on Wednesday through Ohio and Nevada. "This is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class," Obama told a late fundraiser in New York.

Obama said Akin's comments represented a "desire to go backwards instead of forwards" and to fight fights that were settled 20 or 30 years ago.

Sharp contrast


Obama's team did not address whether Akin should quit the race.

"The president leaves that, we all leave that up to the people of Missouri to make that decision," Obama campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki said aboard Air Force One.

But she seized the opportunity to sharpen the contrast between Obama and Romney on women's health issues and draw attention to part of the Republican Party platform that takes a tough stand against abortion without mentioning exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

She also pointed out that Paul Ryan, Romney's vice presidential running mate, had co-sponsored anti-abortion legislation in Congress with Akin.

"There is a real choice here. It doesn't take a profile in courage for people to step away from the comments that Todd Akin made," Psaki said.

The strategy mirrors that of McCaskill, who had been trailing Akin by 10 percentage points in recent polls but pulled into a dead heat as the news of Akin's remarks came out.

Damaged goods

She has stressed the controversy in fundraising e-mails, charging Akin with pursuing an "anti-women agenda", while at the same time defending his right to stay in the race out of respect for Missouri conservatives who put him on the ballot.

With Akin regarded as damaged goods, Democrats now see improved chances for retaining control of the Senate in November, when the Republicans need to pick up four seats to secure a majority.

But analysts say there is also the chance that Akin's predicament could rally conservative and religious voters behind him on Election Day.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Lifestyle
 
 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Business Development Manager

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Hi-Tech Recruitment - Cape Town
R25 000 - R30 000 Per Month

Sales Consultant - Namibia

Western Cape
Virgin Active South Africa

Assistant Cost Management Accountant

Melkbosstrand
CME Recruitment
R15 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.