Former Republican Congressman Todd Akin appeared on MSNBC on Thursday to hawk his new book and defend the now-infamous comments that doomed his 2012 Senate campaign. During an interview in August of 2012, Akin told a local TV station that pregnancy that results from rape is “really rare,” adding, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
In the bizarre 7-minute exchange with host Chuck Todd, Akin invented an entirely new rationale for those comments, suggested that President Bill Clinton is guilty of rape, and clung to the discredited science that underpinned his assertions. Watch it:
“Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term and its abbreviation for legitimate case of rape,” he began, insisting that he used the term “because of the fact that it’s an abbreviation” for “legitimate case of rape.”
“The thing that strikes me as odd is this is something that was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes,” he explained, “because it doesn’t make any sense to say a conservative is saying that rape is legitimate.”
Akin then pivoted to “countless other examples of Bill Clinton being involved in assault on women or indecent behavior” and attacked Hillary Clinton for representing a suspect accused of rape as a defense attorney. But confronted by Todd about the scientific validity of his claims — there is no scientific evidence that adrenaline or stressful situations impact ovulation — Akin insisted that the science was still on his side. “There have been six recent studies and we can provide you with a footnote for those that say that stress has an effect on pregnancy,” he said. Asked if there should be any instance where abortions should be legal, Akin said, “I think that what doctors should do is to try to save life” and suggested that he would support abortion in cases where the child has no chance to live and giving birth would kill the mother.
In his book, “Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom,” Akin writes that he regrets apologizing for the 2012 remarks in a TV ad. While on book tour, Aiken has also compared himself sympathetically to Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI), who spearheaded an infamous Communist witch hunt in the 1950s.