The Obama campaign is counting on Todd Akin’s Missouri meltdown to drag down the Republican convention next week, saying they plan to tie him to his “ideological twin” Paul Ryan at every opportunity.
“I think Hurricane Todd has already borne down on Tampa, and the damage has been done,” a senior campaign official told reporters Thursday at a briefing on the race. “It’s highlighted what is a completely out-of-step, out-of-touch Republican Party when it come to these issues and I don’t think they can put that genie back in the bottle even if they put Akin off the ticket.”
Mitt Romney and Ryan have both called on Akin to exit his race and condemned his remarks. While Romney favors exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother in any abortion restrictions, Ryan is much closer to Akin in his policy record and has backed House legislation that could make any abortion legally equivalent to murder.
Both candidates have made clear Romney’s view will define their position in a potential White House, but the Republican platform does not include any exceptions in its abortion plan. An RNC spokesman now claims the platform is simply a broad statement of principles and that such exceptions could in theory meet their goals.
The Obama official said Ryan’s agreement not to contradict Romney’s position wouldn’t insulate him from attacks, since he hasn’t renounced his previous record and would still be “one heartbeat from the presidency.”
“It is true that Paul Ryan is … on these issues, Todd Akin’s ideological twin,” the official said. “They can run away from Akin, but it’s very hard to run away from that position.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.