Green Room

Not Again! Another Republican Gaffe on Rape

posted at 7:15 am on August 28, 2012 by

Tom Smith

I think Republicans feel that the American people don’t know their stance on abortion.  We get it. You’re pro-life.  In the wake of Todd Akin’s ignorant remarks, which possibly cost us control of the Senate, you would think other candidates for office would be careful when answering questions about abortion.  It appears that isn’t the case for Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith, who also made some unfortunate remarks about rape and pregnancy.

Business Insider posted the transcript of the exchange between Smith and members of the press on August 27th:

Robert Vickers, Patriot News: In light of Congressman Akin’s comments, is there any situation that you think a woman should have access to an abortion?

Tom Smith: My stance is on record and it’s very simplistic: I’m pro-life, period. And what that Congressman said, I do not agree with at all. He should have never said anything like that.

Vickers: So in cases of incest or rape…

Laura Olson, Post-Gazette: No exceptions?

Smith: No exceptions.

Mark Scolforo, Associated Press: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?

Smith: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.

Scolforo: Similar how?

Smith: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: That’s similar to rape?

Smith: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.

What!? I still don’t see why these politicians call out the media when questions like this arise.  You can pivot away from the social issues and say that I’m pro-life, but the real heart of this campaign centers on jobs, the economy, repealing Obamacare, and reforming the tax code.  The American electorate already knows where the Republican Party stands on abortion.  It’s superfluous in the extreme.

However, Republicans just can’t seem to get out of their own way. As a result, these egregious gaffes keeps this nonessential issue (at the time being) fresh in the narrative disseminated by the mainstream media.  A narrative that is a distraction from Obama’s dismal economic record, which is exactly what he wants.  The more we talk about abortion–the more we drift away from the issues where the president is dangerously vulnerable.  We need to get our act together on this front.  The last thing we need is Sandra Fluke and her ilk keeping the “war on women” narrative alive until Election Day.

Now, Huffington Post, which would be all over this story, did post an update on Mr. Smith’s remarks indicating that:

Megan Piwowar, a spokeswoman for Smith, clarified on Monday evening that the candidate’s comments were misunderstood and that the ‘out of wedlock’ pregnancy in his family was not his daughter’s.

Tom Smith is committed to protecting the sanctity of life and believes it begins at conception, she said in a statement. While his answers to some of the questions he faced at the Pennsylvania Press club may have been less than artful, at no time did he draw the comparison that some have inferred. When questioned if he was drawing that comparison, Tom’s answer was clear, ‘no, no, no.’ Tom was speaking to the difficult decision faced by his family, not the nature of his daughters conception.

However, with Smith down almost 20 points against incumbent do-nothing Democratic Senator Bob Casey, I think we can safely assume that Pennsylvania won’t be picked up by Republicans.

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The Stupid Party strikes again!

Congratulations on your second term, Jugears.

SagebrushPuppet on August 28, 2012 at 7:43 AM

Like I always say…we have to be perfect. They aren’t going to hound the democratic party until someone says something stupid. This is now being used just to keep republicans from speaking out.

tomas on August 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM

I told Tom (personally) THE MEDIA IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. I don’t know what is so hard about this concept. The MFM will do ANYTHING to drag the Marxists across the finish line.

DocinPA on August 28, 2012 at 9:14 AM

The GOP ought to start holding seminars for their more inept and clueless candidates to teach them how to detect and defect obvious gotcha questions from the MSM.

farsighted on August 28, 2012 at 9:52 AM

defect deflect

farsighted on August 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Smith was an awful choice for the Senate nomination from the get-go. I sure as hell didn’t vote for him.

DRayRaven on August 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Smith was an awful choice for the Senate nomination from the get-go. I sure as hell didn’t vote for him.

DRayRaven on August 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Is anyone noticing a pattern here? We end up with terrible nominations on plurality votes, right on up to the presidency. This shit’s been going on for almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Welcome to the Republican Party.

gryphon202 on August 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Megan Piwowar, a spokeswoman for Smith, clarified on Monday evening that the candidate’s comments were misunderstood and that the ‘out of wedlock’ pregnancy in his family was not his daughter’s.

Oh course it wasn’t. There’s no way your daughter would rape your family’s honor by having a pregnancy out of wedlock.

mintycrys on August 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Is anyone noticing a pattern here? We end up with terrible nominations on plurality votes…

gryphon202 on August 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM

I’ve noticed. It is happening a lot.

Runoffs are needed in state or lower level primaries where no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote.

I doubt that is feasible in Presidential candidate primaries. It is already messy, but at least a POTUS candidate must receive at least 50% of the delegate vote to get the nomination.

farsighted on August 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM

It must be connected to the bad combovers.

whatcat on August 28, 2012 at 10:31 AM

The last thing we need in the GOP is religious fanatics.

aniptofar on August 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Note to ALL Republican Polls: The MSM will push whatever nonsense the Democrats want pushed; please stop letting the MSM, proxies for the Dems, control your talking points. ie: Stop being the biggest dunce in the interview! Definitely stop he-hawing on the D/MSM pushing the abortion issue. If pro-life, say so. If you would allow exceptions say so. And then say nothing else, no stories, no he-hawing; move on…period.

aposematic on August 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM

You know, I hate the “personal story” technique anyway. Trying to make your policy position sound reasonable by telling the story of one person always sounds phony anyway, and is irrelevant regardless. Just state your policy position and, if you feel more is warranted, offer the logical argument you use to reach it. Let the Democrats do the emotional pandering. And never, ever, ever let the media control your narrative.

Shump on August 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Smith was a Democrat (for 40-something years). So was one of his top primary opponents. I cannot begin to tell you what’s going on in PA. Something in the water, I think.

DrSteve on August 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Stupid candidates cannot even make a coherent argument about a major topic of debate? These politicos are just rejects from real life.

el Vaquero on August 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The party has given up on principles. It is hard to explain things when you do not really beleive in anything.

The simple answer is the best answer. The infant is a human being that has every right that any other human being has. Two wrongs will not make a right, but doing the right thing after the wrong, and allowing the other human being life is the only real option there is for the victim of the rape to do the right thing. Choose life. Once born, the child can be adopted out to another relative, or to someone in another state. States should automatically take any ability of rapists to have parental rights away.

astonerii on August 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Is anyone noticing a pattern here? We end up with terrible nominations on plurality votes, right on up to the presidency. This shit’s been going on for almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Welcome to the Republican Party.

gryphon202 on August 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Which is how we ended up with Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in 2010, and Todd Akin and Tom Smith this time around.

There’s something to be said for runoffs in Senate primaries, where if no candidate gets 50% of the party vote, the top two candidates have a runoff primary about 2-3 weeks after the original primary. It might cost extra money, but at least we get a candidate with majority support within the party.

Texas is a good example–no one got a majority in the primary, and it probably cost lots of money to organize a runoff in a state the size of Texas, but we have a candidate that will likely “Cruz” to victory, with lots of campaigning experience already behind him.

Steve Z on August 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

So? Where’s the Calls To Kick Him Out and Stop All Funding? Where’s the Calls for a Write-in Candidate?

Calling all Akin Bashers Now’s your time to show you’re not hypocrites!

Where’s the eSTABconservstivesintheBack Republicans? Where’s the McCain 2008 inspired Circular Firing Squads?

Hey… I have a better idea let’s keep doing the “Obama media Water Carriers” job for them and throw another tantrum until Romney loses and the Dems hold the senate. If we can keep eating our own, at this pace, we should be able to give the Dems the House too.

It’s a good thing we don’t want to Repeal ObamaTaxCare anymore!

God Bless America!

paratisi on August 28, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Because GOP-E doesn’t want Pro-life Policies deeply discussed in any arena.

No clear stance on this except using the idiotic lines like “I’m pro-life period”, Wade vs. Rowe should have never reached federal court, “abortion should be discussed at the state level”, etc. etc.

Many Republican politicians claiming to be supporting ‘social conservative platform ” don’t even understand the basic policies such as the “pro-life” policy and the surrounding issues behind it including, teen pregnancy, use of contraceptives, rape, abortion, adoption by gay couple, woman’s health, etc.

Even people here in HA don’t even understand the ramifications and the justifications behind pro-life policy.
Look at the comments in this thread. They just want the candidate to shut-up and never provide direct answer for fear of making gaffes/mistakes.

TheAlamos on August 28, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Texas is a good example–no one got a majority in the primary, and it probably cost lots of money to organize a runoff in a state the size of Texas, but we have a candidate that will likely “Cruz” to victory, with lots of campaigning experience already behind him.

Steve Z on August 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Yeah. That’s the successful formula for Bushites. Not just in Texas, your formula is the SOP for keeping the old idiots in the Senate and Congress such as Grahamamnesty and Mruskskeisiesleuiaisskskyrfurckstheseksawitchyrino, to say a few.

And don’t start about term limit, that’s a different issue.

TheAlamos on August 28, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Scolforo: Similar how?

Smith: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: That’s similar to rape?

Smith: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar.

No matter how you cut it, that was brutally stupid.

Religious nuts like Smith and Akin seem to be unable to wrap their minds around just exactly what rape is and exactly why pregnancies that result from rape are not like any other kind of pregnancy.

Comparing it to an out of wedlock pregnancy? Jesus save us from the idiots.

fadetogray on August 28, 2012 at 6:26 PM

What!? I still don’t see why these politicians call out the media when questions like this arise. You can pivot away from the social issues and say that I’m pro-life, but the real heart of this campaign centers on jobs, the economy, repealing Obamacare, and reforming the tax code.

Actually, you should deal with the social issues. However, you shouldn’t sound like an idiot when you do it.

It’s quite easy to simply say that the manner of conception has no bearing on the humanity of the individual child. Really. It’s not hard. Go practice it in front of a mirror if you have to.

Stoic Patriot on September 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM