The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 20, 2012

Akin pledges to stay in Senate race despite ‘legitimate rape’ remark

An owner of a Joplin manufacturing company who is a heavy-hitter GOP contributor has joined a growing list of Republicans withdrawing support for senatorial nominee Todd Akin in the wake of the U.S. representative making reference to “legitimate rape” during a television interview Sunday.

David Humphreys, CEO of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products, on Monday denounced Akin’s candidacy in a one-line statement sent to the Globe by an adviser.

“Akin is a moron,” Humphreys said.

Despite the political firestorm created by the weekend comments, Akin said Monday that he will not withdraw from the U.S. Senate race.

Akin apologized for a remark in a St. Louis television interview in which he said, in response to a question about abortions for rape victims, that it is rare for women to become pregnant as a result of a “legitimate rape.”

Akin said: “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Republicans for months have described the race in Missouri as a prime opportunity to oust Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and return the Senate to a GOP majority. On Monday, funding from outside the state seemed to be evaporating, based on statements attributed to the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Akin made no public appearances Monday, but on former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s radio show, Akin said rape is “never legitimate.”

“It’s an evil act,” he said. “It’s committed by violent predators. I used the wrong words the wrong way.”

John Putnam, chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee and a staunch Akin supporter, defended the comments and said he had been assured by the campaign in a conference call Monday that the GOP candidate would not drop out of the race.

Akin’s response “was poorly worded,” Putnam said. “He has apologized for not speaking more clearly and compassionately.

“What he was talking about is forcible rape. There are established studies that show in cases of forcible rape, pregnancy is rare.” Putnam cited an article titled “Rape Pregnancies are Rare,” by John C. Wilke, M.D., from an April 1999 publication called Christian Life Resources.

A former prosecutor who worked with rape victims, McCaskill called the statements outrageous

“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” she said.

The McCaskill campaign cited a study published in 2003 in Humane Nature magazine. It suggested that “rape is more likely to result in pregnancy than consensual sex.” The campaign also cited a study published in 1996 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology that said 32,000 pregnancies result from rape each year.

Putnam, an Akin supporter since the start of his Senate campaign, earlier said he and the congressman had been friends since Akin was in the Missouri House of Representatives, and both were involved in legislation on home schooling. Putnam and his wife, Merre, contributed $3,650 to the campaign during the primary election.

Akin won the GOP primary on Aug. 7 with 36 percent of the vote, while 30 percent voted for St. Louis businessman John Brunner and 29.2 percent favored Sarah Steelman, former state treasurer. Akin won every county in the Joplin region in the primary, with Steelman coming in second and Brunner third.

State Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, endorsed Brunner. He said Monday that he was “dumbfounded” by Akin’s statements, but that it was too early to gauge the potential impact on the Senate race or on other races statewide.

“It was just so over the top, I don’t know what to say,” Richard said.

Akin’s candidacy has been endorsed by Missouri Right to Life, and the group spoke out in his defense on Monday.

The group said it “supports Congressman Akin’s defense of the life of an innocent unborn child conceived by rape.”

“We also supported his statement of compassion and support for victims of sexual assault,” said Pam Fichter, president of the Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee.

She said Akin’s “consistent defense of innocent unborn human life clearly contrasts” with positions held by McCaskill.

Calls for Akin’s exit from the race grew, with at least two Republican senators — Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — saying he should resign the party’s nomination.

But Akin, who has served six terms in the House, pledged to continue the race against McCaskill.

“The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I’m not a quitter,” he said on Huckabee’s radio program. “And my belief is we’re going to take this thing forward and by the grace of God, we’re going to win this race.”

An official with the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee said the group’s head, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, called Akin on Monday to tell him that the committee had withdrawn $5 million in advertising planned for the Missouri race. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.

Cornyn publicly called Akin’s comments “indefensible,” and suggested that he take 24 hours to consider “what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party and the values that he cares about and has fought for.”

At least one outside group that has pounded McCaskill with ads, the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads organization, also pulled its ads from Missouri.

Moments after Akin’s apology, President Barack Obama said Akin’s remarks underscore why politicians — most of whom are men — should not make health decisions on behalf of women.

“Rape is rape,” Obama said. And he said the idea of distinguishing among types of rape “doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”

Akin also drew a swift rebuke from the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin.

Romney and Ryan “disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

“Like millions of other Americans, we found them (Akin’s comments) to be offensive,” Romney said.

Text Only
Local News
  • ArtFest.jpg Giant footballs arrive in Pittsburg; organizers seeking more underwriters, artists for event

    Twenty-four giant fiberglass footballs arrived in Pittsburg on Wednesday to officially kick off SEK Art Fest’s second annual public art event.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City of Neosho reinstates school officer

    The city of Neosho has restored its contract with the Neosho School District to provide a police officer for security in schools.

    April 16, 2014

  • Mike Pound: Host families build relationships with Joplin Outlaws

    When Missy and Wade Short agreed to serve as a host family for a member of the Joplin Outlaws, they knew they were helping a college baseball player. But what they didn’t know is that they would also find another role model for their son.

    April 16, 2014

  • City of Miami to stage trash, cleanup events

    The city of Miami plans two trash and cleanup events over the next month in an effort to beautify the city and to assist residents with trash removal. This Saturday will see the return of the annual spring “Trash-Off the Streets of Miami.”

    April 16, 2014

  • Commission awards contract for bridge replacement project

    Construction will start in about a month on a new bridge on County Road 48 in the northeast part of Jasper County. The Jasper County Commission this week approved a contract for the project on Deer Creek, south of Baseline Road.

    April 16, 2014

  • More volunteers, donations sought for ‘Victory 4 Haiti’

    The second meals-for-Haiti project, scheduled for April 26, is in need of donations and volunteers, organizers say. “Victory 4 Haiti,” a food-packaging event that will provide meals to the Haitian Christian Mission in the village of Fond-Parisien and elsewhere in Haiti, needs $60,000 to pay for about 280,000 meals.

    April 16, 2014

  • TIF proposal filed for development of area at 44th Street and Range Line

    Joplin’s Tax Increment Financing Commission will hold an informational meeting today on a proposal to establish a TIF district to pay for a wetlands project on property in the area of 44th Street and Range Line, where a developer wants to build a retail, office and hospitality district.

    April 16, 2014

  • 041614 MDOT5_72.jpg JATSO recommends 15 road projects for planning

    The reconstruction of the Highway 171/Interstate 49 interchange at Carthage and the construction of a limited-access highway on the west side of Joplin and Carl Junction are among the top highway projects to be identified by the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin city attorney takes job in Lee’s Summit

    City Attorney Brian Head will leave his Joplin post next month for a job in Lee’s Summit in suburban Kansas City. Head submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday morning to Mayor Mike Seibert and the City Council. The council is his employer.

    April 16, 2014

  • Neosho restores school resource officer to schools

    Neosho Police Chief David McCracken told the city council on Tuesday that he was restoring the city contract to provide a police officer in schools.

    April 16, 2014

Must Read


The Supreme Court may take up a challenge to an Ohio law that bars false statements about political candidates during a campaign. Do you think false accusations made in the heat of an election should be punished as a crime?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter