Democrats Are Searching for the Next Todd Akin, But Nothing Beats the Original

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Ever since Todd Akin lost the 2012 Missouri Senate race over his "legitimate rape" comments, Democrats have been trying to find the next clueless GOP candidate who'll illustrate the "war on women." As it turns out, they didn't have to look far. Todd Akin, who became infamous in 2012 for saying that women don't get pregnant from rape because the female body "has a way of shutting that whole thing down," is back in the spotlight and each interview is worse than the one before.

Akin appeared on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd on Thursday to, depending on your point of view, either defend his comments or dig his hole a little deeper. After saying that "legitimate rape" is an abbreviated law enforcement term for "legitimate case of rape," Akin was asked whether he still thinks abortion should be illegal in cases of rape:

Chuck Todd: Should abortion be legal for somebody who has been raped?

Todd Akin: Well that gets to the heart of the question on that interview two years ago. And so here's the question — should the child conceived in rape have the same right to life as the child conceived in love? ... I had a number of people on my campaign that were children that had grown up who were conceived in rape.

Chuck Todd: Which, by the way, also undermines your argument that the woman's body shuts down.  

Later in the interview, Todd points out the head of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said there's no scientific evidence supporting Akin's theory that stress stops conception, Akin uses the GOP's favorite anti-science rhetorical device, "I'm not a scientist." Specifically, he said: "Well look, I'm not presenting myself as a doctor." While there are at least six studies that show stress affects conception, the real question is whether a child conceived in rape has a right to life, he argued.  

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The recent Hobby Lobby ruling has given Democrats a chance to try to get Republicans talking about women's access to abortions and contraceptives again, which Republicans are trying to cast the issue as strictly one of religious liberties, notes The National Journal. Meanwhile, "party researchers are diligently scrubbing every transcript and public comment for a hint of fringe language that might spook moderate or independent voters," according to the Associated Press

The search isn't going well. Other than GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers's comment that "Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level," and Senate candidate Joni Ernst's UN conspiracy theory, there's not a lot going on. But with Akin promoting his book, there's at least one politician reliving 2012's "war on women" campaign. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.