Not Again! Another Republican Gaffe on Rape
posted at 7:15 am on August 28, 2012 by Matt Vespa
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.