Rep. Phil Gingrey’s attempts to explain Todd Akin’s rape remarks are leaving many Republicans beyond frustrated that a few in their party can’t help but insert rape into the already contentious abortion debate.
“This is actually pretty simple. If you’re about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, who was a senior adviser in Mitt Romney’s campaign.
On Thursday, the Georgia Republican didn’t heed that advice, telling a local Chamber of Commerce breakfast that Akin was “partially right” when he said last year that a woman can stop herself from getting pregnant.
“We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate,’” Gingrey said.
He also said that Akin’s definition of a “non-legitimate rape” could be “a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents.”
The comments were reported by the Marietta Daily Journal...[then] quickly circulated by Democrats, repudiated by medical groups, and had some Republicans smacking their heads in frustration.
And it may have added new urgency to a training program that’s already being launched by an anti-abortion group — the Susan B. Anthony list — to keep candidates and lawmakers from continually making the same kind of comments that may have helped ruin Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate...
...Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said the lawmakers are falling for a trap set by proponents of abortion rights who want to focus the debate on extremes such as rape instead of other abortions.
“It’s a tactic to [force pro-life lawmakers to] talk about this rather than the 98 percent of abortions because they know that they lose it,” Dannenfelser said...
...Marina Ein, whose public relations firm does crisis communications, said the party needs some kind of “sensitivity training” for its candidates if it wants to do better in the next elections.
“It all boils down to whether or not the Republican Party thinks this is a problem,” she said. “If they want to make inroads with women, then they need to subject every one of their candidates to sensitivity training — not to mention reality training.”...
...Madden’s advice is simply to stop talking.
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