Mitt Romney is continuing to distance himself from GOP Senate challenger Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, calling the remarks "inexcusable."
His campaign released a statement Sunday evening stressing that the Missouri congressman doesn't speak for the presumptive GOP nominee, and on Monday morning Romney got on the phone himself with the National Review Online to go one step further. "Congressman Akin's comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong," Romney told the conservative outlet. "Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive."
"I have an entirely different view," Romney continued. "What he said is entirely without merit, and he should correct it."
As a number of observers have already pointed out, Romney stopped short of calling for Akin to drop out of the race to make way for another Republican to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill. That appears to be just fine with the Missouri Democrat, who is no doubt relishing the opportunity to score some easy points with voters after Akin's comments.
Asked on MSNBC this morning about whether Akin should drop out, McCaskill said it's not her place to decide that. "I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they're going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical," she said (quote via National Journal). "I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that."
Elsewhere in Slate, "XXFactor" explains that Akin's comment was not a misstatement but instead a worldview.