They won’t share a stage, but Paul Ryan and Rep. Todd Akin will share the same spotlight at the Values Voter Summit this week.
The summit is sponsored by Akin’s most prominent remaining supporter, the Family Research Council. And with the annual confab only days away, FRC President Tony Perkins said his group is not about to keep its star candidate away from its signature event.
Ryan speaks Friday on the Values Voter main stage. Akin won’t get the same honor, Perkins told an audience at the National Press Club Wednesday, but he will make more than one appearance.
“Unfortunately we have a waiting list of those who want to speak,” Perkins said. “We’ve had to turn away members of Congress. But he will be there participating in one of our events and speaking at, I believe, our political action committee reception Friday afternoon.”
That sets up a potentially awkward situation for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Though Ryan and Akin both share the view that abortion should be outlawed even in the case of rape or incest, Ryan condemned Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments and joined Romney and much of the GOP establishment in calling on Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race.
Ryan and Romney both have sought to distance themselves from Akin, who briefly roiled the presidential race with his explosive comments. Akin’s comments forced Romney to reiterate his disagreement with the Republican Party platform on abortion (Romney supports abortion rights for victims of rape and incest; the platform mentions no exceptions in its call for an outright ban) and gave Democrats a chance to mention Ryan and Akin’s shared views on abortion and cast the vice presidential nominee as extreme.
Things will also be awkward at the event with Akin around. At a panel hosted by the Heritage Foundation Tuesday, Perkins condemned establishment Republicans like Romney and Ryan for ditching Akin while touting his own closeness to the presidential nominee.