Romney Calls on Akin To Drop Out

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 21 2012 5:00 PM

PM Roundup: Romney Tells Akin To Drop Out; The GOP's No-Exceptions Abortion Plank; and More.

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*** NOTE: We've revamped our afternoon Slatest newsletter to deliver a text-heavy recap of the day's top stories to our subscribers' inboxes. Tuesday's edition, the second under the new format, is below. You can sign up to receive it here. ***

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

ALL THINGS AKIN, DAY 2: The "'legitimate rape' rep" continued to dominate the news cycle for the second day in a row. Despite pressure from Republicans big and small to end his Senate campaign, Todd Akin says he's staying put.

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"I said one word in one sentence on one day, and everything changed," the Missouri Senate hopeful told Huckabee in an afternoon radio interview. "I believe the defense of the unborn and a deep respect for life… they are not things to run away from."

Romney Reacts: "As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country. Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race."

WHAT NOW?: The Show-Me State has some of the strictest campaign laws in the country when it comes to replacing a candidate, and those rules make it clear that the decision is Akin's and Akin's alone. Republicans can continue to pressure him to drop out but assuming that doesn't happen before COB today, it would likely mean a host of bureaucratic hurdles for the party if he somehow caves after the deadline. More likely, the Republican apparatus will now be left trying to ignore a man who at one point was key to their plans to take control of the Senate.

But Even That Won't Be Easy: Akin's continued presence on the campaign trail will no doubt make things tougher for more moderate (and scientifically-minded) Republicans. Something else that may make things awkward: the GOP's new abortion plank, which calls for a constitutional amendment banning abortion that makes no mention of granting exceptions for rape or incest.

 Your Akin Reader:

 —Hanna Rosin has the story of Shauna Prewitt, a woman who penned an open letter to Akin telling her story of how she got pregnant from rape: "Prewitt kept the baby who is now a second-grader. At first she had tried to deaden herself to the rape but then it became the defining fact of her life in many ways."

—Amanda Marcotte makes the case that rape exceptions don't work: "The general ban on abortion would mean that finding doctors and clinics who can and are willing to offer the service under the narrow restrictions would become nearly impossible. It's not about the skills so much as it would be the environment of fear."

—The Atlantic's James Hamblin breaks out a few science books to fact-check Akin's claim: "While specific numbers are contested, there is similarly overwhelming evidence of rape-related pregnancy by the tens of thousands in places like Rwanda where there was mass rape in the course of genocide." 

—Will Saletan argues that abortion for rape victims isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s crime issue too.

HAPPY TUESDAY and welcome to Day 2 of the new Slatest afternoon newsletter. We did our best to lay out the reboot for you yesterday, but we'll let the Columbia Journalism Review's Sara Morrison—who had to speak with your over-caffeinated host to write her piece—take a crack at it today: "The word 'companion' comes up often, both on Slatest ... and when talking to [Josh] Voorhees, who talks quickly and bounces back and forth between topics—much like Slatest itself."

GABFEST FANS, REJOICE!: Well at least those in Big Apple. The Slate Political and Culture Gabfests take to the public radio airwaves this weekend in a new, hour-long show on WNYC called Gabfest Radio. Here's the official press release. The show will air on AM 820 at 7 a.m. Saturdays and again at 6 p.m. Sundays.

QUICK HITS

—Don't listen to Twitter, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden didn't die today.

—Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi did, however. He was 57.

—Aurora is taking suggestions about what to do with the movie theater that was the site of this summer's mass shooting.

—Facebook director Peter Thiel sold the majority of his stake in the social network earlier this month, bringing his total haul to more than $1 billion. 

—Mitt Romney's mounting cash advantage over President Obama is becoming more clear with each passing day.

—U.S. author/long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad was forced to abandon her bid to swim from Cuba-to-Florida this morning.

—Tony Scott's family is denying a report that suggested a brain cancer diagnosis may have been behind the director's apparent suicide. 

—ABC is moving Jimmy Kimmel to 11:35 p.m., where he'll go head to head with Jay Leno and David Letterman.

PLEASE DEFINE "MARKET PRICE": Matthew Yglesias examines the disjoint between what lobstermen sell their catch for and what restaurants do: "It’s clear that if you walk into a fish store that the price of live lobsters has indeed fallen sharply. But at the restaurants and seafood shacks that dot the coast, prices have fallen only modestly. Instead, the lobstermen’s pain is leading to windfall profits for restaurant owners, fueling dark talk of price fixing in some quarters."

GOOGLE VS. GOD: Libby Copeland examines how smartphones are pushing Hasidic Jews to leave home: "Once upon a time—say, in the 1990s—a Hasidic Jew looking for escape from her blinkered world might have gone to the library. But by the time F. Vizel, a Satmar Hasid, learned that the public library existed at the age of 20, she’d already made a far more critical discovery. She’d found the Internet."

THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME: Daniel Engber looks at the question of whether playing baseball is really more hazardous to your health than football: "It could be that cumulative wear-and-tear is worse for your health than acute injuries. Football players get dinged multiple times per game, but their careers tend to be quite short—3.5 years, on average—and each season comprises just 16 to 20 games. Baseball players are less vulnerable to injuries on the field, but they're asked to perform 10 times as often, and their careers tend to last 60 percent longer."

See you back here tomorrow, but in the meantime tell your friends to subscribe here. Your faithful host is also in the market for a nice sign-off line, email him your suggestions at josh.voorhees@slate.com.