If you needed any more evidence of Akin the weirdo (his words, not mine), consider his remarks as a state representative in opposition to riverboat gambling. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in February 1994 that Akin and his colleague Stephen Banton warned on the floor of the Missouri House that “riverboats would lead to gambling addiction, battered spouses, broken homes, organized crime, poverty, suicides and child abuse.”
That’s a rather thorough list, but Akin wasn’t done. Akin warned that if gambling addiction rose just 1%, “50,000 thieves will be turned loose on our streets.” “When we have the smell of money, we run after it like dogs in heat,” he continued.
The Post-Dispatch reporter then added this hilarious, and rather telling, detail: “[House Speaker] Griffin had to call the House to order because so many members were talking to each other while Banton and Akin were speaking.” In other words, Akin’s colleagues knew better than to take him seriously all the way back in 1994.
If you thought those comments were overwrought, just wait. NPR caught up with Akin in July 1998 to talk about those sinful riverboats.
COLLISON: Gambling opponent and state legislator Todd Akin has his response already prepared.
AKIN: I would hope that we would send a very bad message to any industry that wants to come in and use big dollars to rape our Constitution. If we want to change it, there's a process to do that, and that of course is coming up in November.
Really, he had that response already prepared? He hoped to send a very bad message to any industry that wants to rape our Constitution. That’s just weird.
Akin was right about one thing though. There is a process to change things in November.
In an interview yesterday with Pittsburgh’s KDKA, Paul Ryan took the opportunity to stand behind his record of trying to force rape victims who get pregnant to give birth to their rapists’ children. Ryan, speaking with KDKA political editor Jon Delano, said he would follow the lead of Romney, who supports an exception for rape. But he made it clear that he doesn't personally support one.
Ryan’s record on reproductive rights is virtually identical to that of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin. Both oppose abortion in the case of rape, and the GOP platform committee yesterday reaffirmed this position on behalf of the entire party.
But still, you might have expected Ryan to back away from the issue during his first interview since Akin captured the spotlight. Nope, Ryan’s a true believer. Pregnant rape victims be damned:
Delano: “Should abortions to be available to women who are raped?”
Ryan: “Well, look, I’m proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”
Delano: “Despite Ryan’s views, Romney says he will allow exceptions for rape and incest."
Delano: "Ryan says women won’t fall for these side issues."
Ryan: "And I don’t think they’re going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them."
Earlier today, Mitt Romney described Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” as “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.” In a separate interview, Romney said, “I can't defend what he said, I can't defend him.”
Romney may not be able to defend Akin, but his running mate Paul Ryan knows some people who can. He’s set to headline next month’s Values Voter Summit alongside a who’s who of Akin defenders and endorsers.
The event’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, leapt to Akin’s defense. The group’s political action committee complained today that Akin was “getting a very bad break here” and pledged to “support him fully and completely.”
Speaking from the RNC platform committee meeting, FRC president Tony Perkins warned Sen. Scott Brown to back off from his criticism of Akin: “He has been off the reservation on a number of Republican issues, conservative issues I should say. His support among conservatives is very shallow.”
The American Family Association is another major sponsor. The group’s spokesperson, Bryan Fischer said that Akin was “absolutely right.” Continuing, he said that the trauma of a “real, genuine rape, a case of forcible rape” would make it impossible or difficult for a woman to conceive. Meanwhile, of the high-profile endorsers listed on Akin’s website, Mike Huckabee and Reps. Michele Bachmann, Steve King and Jim Jordan will be featured speakers at the Values Voter Summit.
While Akin himself has tried in various ways to distance himself from his own comments, his supporters at FRC, AFA, and elsewhere have enthusiastically embraced them. There is no doubt that they will use the Values Voter Summit to buttress their newly minted martyr.
The real question is whether the Romney campaign will have Ryan go ahead and headline the event. Ryan, who has previously sought to redefine rape and ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, would definitely fit in. But the problem is that he might fit in too well.