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Romney diverges from the official RNC platform on abortion

Mitt Romney has spent the last two days attempting to distance himself from Todd Akin, but his own party keeps catching up with him.

Just as Romney said he supports exceptions to a ban on abortion in cases of rape or incest, the Republican platform committee approved language that says the exact opposite.

When asked today about the discrepancy, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus said, "This is the platform of the Republican party, it's not the platform of Mitt Romney." Why have an official party platform that diverges from the stance of the soon-to-be-official party nominee?

Rachel Maddow asked senior Demos fellow and former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert about the contradiction Tuesday night. The Romney campaign is "running away from the record as well as running away from the platform," Maddow said, referring to vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's past work with Akin. "Is this a double flip?"

It's not the first time that the GOP platform has adopted such strict language on abortion, without exceptions. The same language was used in the 2008, 2004 and even 1976 platforms, as noted by Washington Post's Wonkblog. In 2008, John McCain's position diverged from his party's, just as Romney's now does.

Nonetheless, Herbert told Maddow that "it still gives us a pretty good indication [of] the approach that a Romney administration would have to women's issues."

Though many conservatives (including Romney himself) called on Akin to drop out of the Senate race, he vowed to fight on and missed Tuesday's deadline for removing his name from the ballot. About two hours later, the candidate asked supporters on Facebook and Twitter to stand with him against the "liberal elitist media" calling for his withdrawal—a liberal elitist group that apparently includes his own party's presidential candidate.