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Republicans, Don't Make Abortion an "Akin Pain" at Convention

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Oh, yes, it seems to happen to Republicans so often. Just when the other side stubs its toe, somehow the GOP trips over the entire foot.

Of course, that is in part thanks to mainstream media that basically pat on the head a Democratic vice president who says whacky and offensive stuff ("that's our crazy, loveable Joe") but tears apart a Republican VP like Dan Quayle, whose misspeaks were either misinterpreted or fairly innocuous. Quayle, who in person is a highly bright and very likable man, was given the same once as the equally bright Sarah Palin by the national media.

But Biden skates by, in part due to his truly likable personality among both Democrats and Republicans who know him and because of media that cannot bring themselves to pummel Democratic gaffes like they do Republican ones.

Enter Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who gained his GOP nomination before the infamous interview in which he basically stated that if a rape is "legitimate," the female body has ways of shutting down and avoiding pregnancy. If there is any "legitimate" medical evidence to support this theory, none of us has heard it. Even Palin says Akin has to exit the race for the U.S. Senate. In other words, everyone is rejecting his theory and him.

From a man who has been at the center of the GOP as both an outsider and an insider, let me give Akin some unsolicited advice: Quit, and run away as fast as you can. When individuals as conservative as your state's own former U.S. Sen. John Danforth say you cannot win, you cannot win. Enough said to Akin.

The real crux of this column is directed to what is increasingly becoming a stronger and stronger Mitt Romney and his team. Romney has denounced Akin's comments and asked him to step aside for another GOP nominee. So, too, have the party elders and the Republican Senatorial Committee. But a stubborn and out-of-touch Akin refuses to budge.

So, the Republicans have both the looming threat of a potential real, live and developing hurricane during their convention and a literal storm over efforts to link Republic VP nominee Paul Ryan to Akin through various pieces of legislation or other vehicles they both signed related to abortion.

Trust me, Republicans: Don't fall into the trap of making this an "Akin" pain during what should be Romney's shining moment.

It was not Romney who uttered Akin's words. And attempts to link Ryan to Akin's unusual medical theory are driven by Democratic operatives, hand-feeding the press with images of Ryan participating in signing or supporting certain anti-abortion legislation that in no way espouses Akin's views.

But suddenly the actions of one relatively obscure member of Congress, along with a lovely skinny-dip in the Sea of Galilee by one of his GOP colleagues, has given the Democrats and the press enough cover to go into full-blown attack mode. Suddenly, the GOP is the "party that hurts women" all over again.

In reality, Romney and the Republicans have done everything possible to rebuke and disassociate themselves from this guy. Enough is enough.

President Obama took to the White House press room to pounce on this faux pas. Now he hasn't given a real press conference of any substance in ages, but the president was quick to enter the press room with a prepared statement on this one.

This is the old "razzle-dazzle" that Richard Gere made famous playing a dramatic defense attorney in the film version of the hit musical "Chicago" -- and how appropriate, because this tactic has Chicago politics written all over it.

Most of the nation's states are suffering from continued high unemployment numbers. We are learning that Obamacare will cost Medicare over $700 billion in cuts and create a small panel to decide how everyone enrolled should be treated under the program in future years. And the country's economic growth has slowed to a crawl.

But everything from Romney's taxes to this latest distraction has been used by the Obama camp to divert attention away from the real issue in this campaign. The Republicans need to ignore these distractions and remind Americans just how bad off we are and that Romney-Ryan can restore the American dream that today is a nightmare.

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