While Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin addresses yet another women’s-health controversy – he still believes doctors sometimes perform abortions on women who “are not actually pregnant” – there’s another problem just below the surface.
When I heard reports last week about Akin having been arrested at an anti-abortion protest many years ago, I assumed it wasn’t too big a deal. Demonstrators get arrested fairly regularly – civil disobedience as part of a political cause – and it’s hardly a disqualifier for candidates.
And so, when Akin promised he’d release the details of his arrest this week, it looked likely to be a minor footnote in the campaign. But then something interesting happened: Team Akin decided to break the promise.
At a news conference last week in Kansas City, Akin said he had been arrested as an anti-abortion protester about 25 years ago, and an aide said the campaign would provide more details later. Akin campaign adviser Rick Tyler said Wednesday that no charges ever were filed but that Akin’s campaign would not provide any further details about the incident.
And that’s about when my curiosity gets piqued.
Look, people get arrested while protesting at embassies, at the White House, etc. There’s usually not much to this, and we’re talking about nothing more serious than misdemeanor trespassing charges.
And if that’s the sort of thing that happened with Akin while he was protesting abortion rights, it wouldn’t be especially scandalous or even surprising. But when an extremist candidate gets arrested, says he’ll disclose the details, and then changes his mind, it makes the story seem far more interesting.
Right Wing Watch’s Josh Glasstetter added, “We shouldn’t be left guessing. An arrest is a matter of public record, and we’re talking about an individual running for the U.S. Senate. Akin should come clean about what did, or did not, happen.”