Two years after declaring that some rape is "legitimate," former Congressman Todd Akin is making headlines again.
Akin now says that he was the real victim, after his headline-grabbing comments derailed his Senate campaign and made him a national punch line. Akin was a member of Congress for more than 20 years before most of the political class even knew he existed.
But the Missouri Republican became the center of a national political debate in 2012, when his Senate campaign was turned upside down after Akin made his infamous comments about cases of “legitimate rape” and whether or not rape victims could “shut that whole thing down” and prevent themselves from becoming pregnant.
“Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term, and it’s an abbreviation for 'legitimate case of rape,'” Akin said in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “Do you know of anybody who thinks that rape is legitimate? That doesn’t even make sense. I know of no conservatives who think rape is legitimate.”
Akin says he isn’t planning to run for elected office again but has published a new book, “Firing Back,” in which he claims his comments were taken out of context by a combination of media outlets and Republican elites who wanted to derail his candidacy.
When pressed for more details, Akin said he misspoke but insisted he was only using a law enforcement term and not passing judgment on whether or not an allegation of rape had merit.
“If I had been choosing my words better, I should have said 'legitimate case of rape,' and I have acknowledged that it was a poor choice of words,” he said. “I never said that a woman can’t get pregnant who is raped. Now, the media lied about that I said that, but I never said that. I was simply talking about that stress affects the statistics of people becoming pregnant.”
Akin went on to say that fallout from his comments should actually be blamed on the national news media, President Obama and even Republicans, including Karl Rove and unnamed members of the Republican Senate leadership.
“This was something that was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes,” Akin said. "It was sort of taken out of context so I’m the villain of the whole world.”
“You’ve got Karl Rove and certain people in the Senate leadership that don’t believe anymore in the process of what we call a primary election. They think that the people in primaries in various states are too stupid to pick the right person,” Akin continued.
“Of course, right after that Sunday interview, Monday morning, very odd timing, Obama walks into a press conference, which he never does, and takes a question about Todd Akin.”
Finally, Todd asked Akin if he believed there are any exceptional cases in which a woman should be allowed to have an abortion.
Akin refused to directly answer the question, but did allow that cases in which a nonviable fetus threatens the life of the mother might constitute an “exception” that he could support.
“I think that what doctors should do is try to save life,” he said. “I believe that what you do is save the mother. Your objective is not to kill the child. If you’d call that an exception, then that would be an exception.”
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