The Akin effect

The response from many Republicans around the country to Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) appalling and now-infamous comments on "legitimate rape" not producing pregnancies has been swift, unequivocal and appropriate. When was the last time the National Review asked someone to step down from a ticket just 24 hours after an offending remark? But the sting of Akin's comments, even if he does step down, promises to follow Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) around in the days and weeks to come — even if he doesn't agree with them.

The campaign of Mitt Romney denounced Akin's comments rapidly, and Romney called them "insulting, inexcusable, and frankly wrong." The campaign also released a statement that said that neither Romney nor Ryan agrees with Akin and that "a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."

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But Ryan did co-sponsor legislation with Akin to ban abortions in all cases, without an exception for rape — a position contrary to Romney. And the Obama campaign pounced today. Not only did a spokeswoman accuse both Romney and Ryan of having supported pro-life legislation that had no exclusions or exceptions, but Obama took the opportunity to criticize Akin from the White House briefing room today.

Get ready for The War on Women: Chapter 29.


WILL ROMNEY GET A BOUNCE FROM TAMPA? Ask A.B. needs your convention questions! Send them to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.