August 21st, 2012
07:34 PM ET

Vice President, 35,000+ Republicans heading to Tampa next week

Joe Biden – Vice President, former Senator, and party crasher?

As Republicans gear up for their convention in Tampa next week, today we learned that Biden will also be in town for the big event. But of course, he's no special guest – he'll be speaking at a series of counter-rallies nearby.

So is this trip down south a sign of desperation? OutFront tonight are CNN contributors Jamal Simmons and Reihan Salam, along with McKay Coppins, a member of our Political Strike Team and a reporter for Buzzfeed.com.

Filed under: Election 2012 • Politics
August 21st, 2012
07:22 PM ET

Todd Akin isn't the only abortion-related problem for the GOP

OutFront tonight: Defying the party.

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), the now infamous Republican whose comments about women being able to fend off pregnancy from a "legitimate rape," is refusing to drop out of the senate race, even calling the wave of criticism a "bit of an over-reaction."

Just don't tell Mitt Romney. After Akin reiterated that he would stay in the race today, Romney released a statement directly stating that he should drop out. And don't tell Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who last night on our show said that he would prefer Akin stay away from the convention next week.

In fact, the message is pretty clear form a host of Republicans – don't let the door hit you on the way out, Todd Akin!

Meanwhile, in a case of painful timing, a Republican Party platform is taking shape in Tampa prior to the convention. Since 1984, Republicans have voted to include a constitutional ban on abortion in their official party platform. It's called a "Human Life Amendment," and there's no exception for cases of rape or incest.

But this is not something that Mitt Romney, the presumptive boss of the party now, says he agrees with. In fact, he took a direct stance on the issue, issuing a statement yesterday that said "a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."

Other Republicans disagree with the platform vote too. Four years ago, John McCain tried to change the language to specifically include the above exceptions. And today, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) sent a letter to the chair of the Republican Party, calling it a "mistake" to ignore "the views of pro-choice Republicans like myself."

Senator Brown has a good point. 67% of Republicans and 75% of independents think abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest. 59% of all pro-life people think so too. But in all likelihood, the Human Life Amendment will be a part of this year's platform as well.

Filed under: Deconstruct • Politics
August 21st, 2012
03:27 PM ET

Akin's comments uncomfortably close to party policy, says John Avlon

Rep. Todd Akin is vowing to stay in the Missouri senate race after his statement that women cannot get pregnant from "legitimate rape," defying calls from leaders of both parties to drop out.

But while Democrats and Republicans have been mostly equal in their condemnation of the remark, John Avlon feels that criticism from the right has more to do with a poor choice of words, not the underlying idea that women should not be able to obtain an abortion in any scenario.

John Avlon is also a CNN contributor and member of the OutFront political strike team.


"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

These were the words that got Rep. Todd Akin kicked to the curb by Republicans, ranging from Mitt Romney to Karl Rove to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who pronounced the comments "biologically stupid" and "bizarre" to Erin Burnett on "OutFront" Monday night.

It's good to see conservatives stand up for sound science. But beneath the well-deserved thrashing Akin received, I get the sense that political self-interest is driving this debate more than concerns about policy or principle. The problem seems to be less what Akin said than the way he said it. FULL POST

Filed under: Politics
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