In his lead story for Wednesday's New York Times, congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman joined colleague Jennifer Steinhauer  in eagerly conflating Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial abortion comments with the GOP's long-standing pro-life platform plank.
Representative Todd Akin on Tuesday ignored a deadline to abandon Missouri’s Senate race and vowed to remain the Republican nominee in defiance of his party’s leaders, including the presidential standard-bearer, Mitt Romney.
“I believe the defense of the unborn and a deep respect for life, which underlie all of America, those are important parts of who we are. And they’re not things to run away from,” Mr. Akin said on the radio program hosted by Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.
Mr. Akin touched off a firestorm of criticism after he said in a television interview on Sunday that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.
The congressman’s decision to remain in the race against Claire McCaskill, the incumbent Democratic senator, came the same day the Republican Party’s platform committee endorsed a constitutional ban on abortion that does not include an explicit exception for rape.
Less than a week before the national party gathers in Tampa, Fla., to formally nominate Mr. Romney as its presidential candidate, the national conversation has turned sharply to the kind of social issues the party has tried to avoid.
Mr. Akin is no stranger to incendiary comments. “We can’t run from our shadows every time someone says ‘abortion,’ ” he told Dana Loesch, a conservative talk radio host, on Tuesday.
For months, Mr. Romney has struggled to stay focused on the economy while trying to narrow a deficit that polls show he has with women in the presidential race. But the week’s events have set back that effort and ensured a media spotlight for Mr. Akin and his ardent supporters in the social conservative movement.