Republican Congressman Todd Akin, speaking on pregnancies resulting from rape, said earlier this month, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.” The Romney campaign reacted with a statement: “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement.” Last week, Richard Mourdock, an Indiana Republican candidate for U.S. Senate said, “I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Governor Romney’s spokesperson wrote: “Governor Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views,” but continued support of Mourdock’s candidacy.
This week on CNN, former New Hampshire Governor and Romney operative John Sununu commented on Gen. Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama. “Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama…I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.” A Romney spokeswoman said Sununu’s comment “did not reflect the views of the campaign.” Also this week, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin wrote, “We deserve answers to this (attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya). President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end.” Conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted after Monday’s debate that she approved of “Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.” And…Donald Trump offered the president $5 million for any charity (specifically citing inner city children in Chicago) if he would release his college transcripts. There was no comment from Romney on the Palin, Coulter and Trump remarks.
Some say this series of slips and slurs reflect a hopelessly backward, racially prejudiced and out of touch GOP. But it may be unfair to assume that all this buffoonery will result in collateral damage to the top of the ticket. What we should really note is Romney’s responses. He has chosen either tepid reactions to these outrageous points of view or silence. If I headed the campaign’s PR efforts, Romney would take a principled stand and denounce–under the strongest possible terms–what was said by these individuals.
But all was not negative this past week; Romney did get endorsements from the New York Post and Meat Loaf. And he is running neck-in-neck with the president with a few days left in the campaign. Your thoughts?