By Justin Sink
A television reporter in Denver said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign stipulated that he did not want to be asked about the topic of abortion or the controversial comments made by Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for Missouri's Senate seat, during an interview taped Thursday.
The Romney campaign said later Thursday that "the matter was being addressed," and that as a policy, it does not place restrictions on reporters. It also pointed to reports that other news stations granted interviews Thursday were not put under similar restrictions as evidence Romney was not trying to skirt the issue.
Republicans — including Romney — have since called on Akin to drop out of the race, but the Missouri lawmaker's decision to remain on the ballot has created a headache for the GOP. According to the Denver CBS affiliate granted an interview with the candidate Tuesday, a Romney aide signaled repeatedly that the candidate did not want to discuss the matter further.
“You know, I had about five minutes with him, and we got through a fair amount of material, actually, in that five minutes. The one stipulation to the interview was that I not ask him about abortion or Todd Akin — he’s the Missouri Republican who created a firestorm after saying women shut down in a legitimate rape to prevent pregnancy," said CBS reporter Shaun Boyd.
The Obama campaign looked to seize on the Romney interview preconditions in an email to reporters Thursday.
"It’s no surprise why," said Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith. "On Tuesday, the Republican Party officially endorsed the Akin amendment, which would ban abortion for all women, including rape victims, and Paul Ryan has struggled to explain his support for redefining rape. Mitt Romney’s campaign might be able to muzzle reporters from asking tough questions, but women across America deserve to know the truth about Romney-Ryan’s extreme agenda."
But Republicans said the Obama campaign's hit rang hollow after media reports that Vice President Biden's staff looked to prevent media access to Biden during a recent trip. According to reports, Biden aides also eavesdropped on journalists' interviews with attendees and tried to edit pool reports provided to other reporters unable to travel with the vice president.
Earlier in the week, Republicans also blasted President Obama for inviting local stations to the White House specifically to discuss looming sequestration cuts to the defense budget, although reporters were allowed to ask questions on other subjects.
— The headline of this post has been corrected from a previous version, and the post was updated at 5:25 p.m.