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Akin tries damage-control mode

Associated Press

Over the weekend, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) created quite a mess for himself discussing pregnancies from rape. "If it's a legitimate rape," the U.S. Senate candidate said, "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Appearing on Mike Huckabee's radio show this afternoon, Akin said he "used the wrong word," and "was referring to forcible rape," instead of "legitimate rape."

Akin, in other words, doesn't fully understand why there's a scandal. Apparently he thinks he'd be fine if only he'd said, "If it's a forcible rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

While Akin flounders, the calls for his departure from the race are growing. Though Akin told Huckabee, "I'm not a quitter," Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) want him to drop out, and GOP officials are generally running from the far-right Missourian as fast as they can.

And what of the ostensible head of the Republican Party?

Mitt Romney condemned the comments about rape and abortion by Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, calling them "insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong."

The Romney campaign issued a statement Sunday night saying that Mr. Romney disagreed with the comments, but in a telephone interview with National Review Online on Monday, Mr. Romney went further, saying Mr. Akin should not have made the comments. [...]

"I have an entirely different view," Mr. Romney told National Review. "What he said is entirely without merit and he should correct it."

I am, to be sure, delighted Romney has "an entirely different view," but I'm also eager for him to elaborate. Romney has, after all, expressed support for a "Personhood" measure; he's said he would be "delighted" to sign a bill eliminating all abortions; and he picked a running mate who cosponsored bills defining fertilized eggs as human beings and redefining rape.

The larger point, of course, is that Akin's comments were blisteringly ignorant, his general approach to women's health may not be far at all from the Republican Party mainstream.