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Rape Talk Trips Up Another GOP Male

Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press discusses the how GOP congressional candidate John Koster of Washington may have entered the "rape talk hall of fame": 

One of Koster’s problematic areas, in a district largely economically conservative but more socially liberal, has been his social conservatism, especially on abortion and related subjects. Last weekend, he was on tape saying this: “On the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s the consequence of this crime, how does that make it better? You know what I mean?” Asked about incest and rape, he described incest as “so rare” – the suggestion being that it’s so uncommon as to hardly merit cognizance." More here.

Question: Does this comment put Koster in the same category of insensitive numbskull as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdoch?

Baumgartner to Publicola: Go (bleep) yourself

U.S. Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner thinks too much attention is being paid to comments by another Republican candidate running for another Senate seat in another state.

As noted yesterday, Baumgartner, who is running against U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, called the comments of Todd Akin ignorant and inexcusable. This was after Akin, who is running against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, defended his stance against abortion for cases of rape by telling a St. Louis radio station that women rarely get pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because their bodies have a means to "shut down the whole thing."

His campaign even put out a press release detailing his views on why Akin's comments were insensitive, and suggested it was time to stop focusing on the culture wars and get back to substantive issues like the economy and fiscal problems.

Publicola, a Seattle-area political and public affairs blog, followed up and asked for further details on how Baumgartner's views differed from Akin's views, because they both oppose abortion for cases of rape and incest. The Spokane state senator provided them more details, but again said his campaign is not based around culture wars, and that's not why he's running against Cantwell. He's running on issues about the economy and ending the war in Afghanistan.

Later in the evening, Baumgartner — apparently unhappy with the follow up — sent the writer Josh Feit a picture of picture of a friend who recently died in Afghanistan. He suggested Feit "take a good look, and then go (bleep) yourself." (This word is used freely by today's teenagers as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an interjection and even a conjunction, but this blog is still run by a family newspaper, so we don't print it.)

This afternoon, Baumgartner's campaign released a statement in which he said he thought the e-mail to Feit was personal, but nonetheless apologized "for my strong language." He reiterated criticism that the news media aren't talking about ways to end the war or Cantwell's support of it.

For a copy of the statement, click here to go inside the blog.

Mo. rape comment ripples into Wa.

Waves from a comment by a Missouri politician Sunday that women are rarely pregnant from a "legitimate rape" rippled across country to Washington state today, with fellow Republican Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner calling it ignorant and Democrats trying to tie a link to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, who won a primary for the right to challenge U.S. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, stepped in it Sunday during a radio interview. According to an Associated Press report, he was asked if he would support abortion for a woman who was raped, and replied: "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 later  said in a statement he misspoke and insisted he has "deep empathy for the thousands of women who are raped and abused each year."

But some Republicans were already calling for him to get out of the race, GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney termed the comments offensive and other candidates were quick to follow suit.

Among them was Baumgartner, who this morning issued a statement that the comments were inexcusable: "To belittle the trauma rape victims go through is extremely offensive and I am horrified that he would show such little empathy."

He also suggested candidates "call a truce on the culture wars" and go back to talking about the economy and fiscal problems.

That's probably not going to  happen soon. Sen. Maria Cantwell's campaign quickly fired back that Baumgartner signed on to a Spokane County GOP platform that defined life as stretching from conception to natural death, and said he would make an exception for abortion in cases in which a woman's life is in danger but not an exception for rape cases.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was trying to tie Akin's comments around McMorris Rodgers' neck, saying they co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which as originally written tried to change an exclusion in the law from rape to "forcible rape." That suggests that some kinds of rape and incest are consensual and health care could be restricted accordingly, the group said. Wouldn't be surprised if the DCCC was sending out a cookie-cutter press release in most of the bill's 227 co-sponsors.