A television ad that accompanies it features a series of Republican women who share only their first names, all of them explaining why they still support Akin. A woman whose face is covered by shadows claims that the ad’s subjects “are just a few of the women who think for themselves.”
The women include “Kelly,” a former drug addict who was touched by Akin’s warmth; “Katherine,” who’s glad Akin supports cutting federal education spending; “Stephanie,” who says she’s glad Akin is thinking about her daughter’s future; and “Zina,” who suggests that wanting to outlaw abortion means Akin “respects the life of our black children and respects life in general.”
“He’s one of the best representatives in this country, especially on pro-life issues, and he has more integrity than most of the rest of them combined,” one of the women insists.
He later apologized and said he was talking about “forcible rape,” a legal exception Akin and fellow House Republicans crafted in order to deny federal benefits to rape victims who weren’t also physically beaten or otherwise injured. The remark sparked a torrent of negative press for Akin and Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who co-sponsored a bill with Akin that sought to redefine rape as “forcible rape.”
The controversy roiled Republicans in the press for weeks leading up to the Republican National Convention once reporters began comparing Akin’s record on women’s rights to Ryan’s, finding very little distance between the two men. Both Akin and Ryan say they want to give “personhood” status to fetuses, ban most forms of birth control, outlaw abortion, pull funding from women’s health clinics that serve lower-income populations and even overturn laws that mandate women receive pay equal to their male counterparts.
Akin’s “I’m a women” campaign is a direct response to that continuing fallout, which knocked about 14 points off his poll numbers and put Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) squarely in the lead. He’s expected to formally kick off the relaunched campaign during a Tuesday night event.
Update: ‘Women for Akin’ site vanishes
A subdomain on Akin.org that hosted the “Women for Akin” site began returning an “Access denied” message shortly after this story’s publication. An Akin campaign spokesperson hasn’t yet returned requests for comment.
Second update: Akin spokesperson calls entire ‘Women for Akin’ site ‘a glitch’
Akin press secretary Ryan Hite told Raw Story on Tuesday afternoon that the campaign did indeed remove the “Women for Akin” website, calling it was “a glitch” that was never supposed to be released to the public in the first place.
“It’s not that it was a public page up and ready to go that got deleted. It was a test page,” Hite said. “It wasn’t even supposed to be up. That was just a glitch on our end. I think it’s something you’ll be seeing here in a little bit. But, that was a test page that our web guys who were putting it together didn’t mean to have it out there in public. So, it wasn’t something that was us taking it down. It was just a test page.”
He added: “After we have this event this evening where the women’s coalition rolls out what they’re going to do and, you know, what they’re going to be helping with, then you’ll see a lot more stuff, you know, floating around… whether it’s on their end or our end. Because, you know, I mean, they’re their own independent coalition we’re working with. But, we’ll see.”
This video was published to YouTube on Sept. 17, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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