BREAKING: President Barack Obama today condemned comments by Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in "a legitimate rape" and that conception is rare in such cases.
"The views expressed were offensive, "said Obama during a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room. "Rape is rape. The idea that we should be parsing, qualifying, slicing what types of rape they're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people certainly doesn’t make sense to me."
Obama said Akin's comments underscore why politicians, most of whom are men, should not make decisions on behalf of women.
Akin said in an interview yesterday that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in "a legitimate rape" and that conception is rare in such cases because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
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Later, Akin said he was talking about "forcible rape," adding, "Rape is never legitimate." Akin also acknowledged that women can become pregnant from rape.
"I didn't mean to imply that wasn't the case," he said. "That does happen."
Akin, who is running to unseat Missouri's Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, apologized for his comments today and said he plans to stay in the Senate race.
Some prominent Republicans have raised concerns about whether Akin should stay in the race (tomorrow, Aug. 21, is the deadline for replacing Akin on the ballot).
"Congressman Akin's comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong," Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney said today. However, Romney did not call for Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race, as some other prominent Republicans have (including U.S. Senators Scott Brown and Ron Johnson).
"He was nominated by people of Missouri and I'll let them sort that out," Obama said.