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McCaskill says rape comment was a 'window into Todd Akin’s mind’

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) on Monday blasted her challenger, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), for his controversial comments on rape and abortion, and sought to tie him to the GOP presidential ticket.

"This statement is kind of a window into Todd Akin’s mind,” said McCaskill on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” describing the six-term lawmaker as “one of the architects of the Ryan budget and all of its problems that that represents.”

McCaskill called Akin’s remarks in an interview where he claimed that incidents of “legitimate rape” rarely cause pregnancy “jaw-dropping and stunning.” 

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“You know, I spent 10 years as a prosecutor in the courtroom and did hundreds and hundreds of rape cases, held their hands, cried with them, and that’s why for me this is incredibly painful because it shows how many people are out there in very important positions who just don’t understand the trauma and don’t understand what it means,” she added.

Akin, in an interview with a local St. Louis station on Sunday, was asked to explain his opposition to abortion for pregnancies caused by rape. 

"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said.

Akin said later, in a statement, that he “misspoke,” claiming that his comments did not “reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”

Republicans, including the campaign of presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), quickly sought to distance themselves from Akin’s comments.

"Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in a statement. Democrats have made Ryan’s stance on abortion a key issue in their attacks on the GOP vice presidential pick.

Ryan, a Catholic, opposes abortion except in circumstances to save the life of the mother.

McCaskill on Monday said Akin’s remark should prompt voters to review her challenger's record. "He wants to do away with school lunches, he wants to do away with the minimum wage, he wants to do away with all federal involvement in education," she said.

"You can go down a long list of things, and I don't think that this is somebody whom most of the moderate Republicans in the state can support," McCaskill added. 

She also said that Akin’s statement was not enough. “He may be acting like he's backtracking, but he didn’t say he was wrong,” she said. “He hasn’t said that that’s a wrong statement and he hasn’t apologized for that statement.

“He was elected by the Republican primary voters by a wide margin and you know there are people out of the mainstream who really support Todd Akin, but for most Missourians I hope this is one of those gut-check moments and they realize this is not somebody we want speaking for us and our values on the floor of the Senate," said McCaskill.

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