In his State of the Union address this evening, President Barack Obama addressed several hot-button political issues including climate change, immigration reform and gun control. Overall, the president’s speech struck a populist tone, but when bringing up his proposals to address some of these more controversial issues, he characterized them as making good business sense.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An anti-abortion protester caused quite the scene at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony this morning after he climbed high up into a tree on the National Mall and shouted anti-abortion slogans and criticism of the Democratic Party throughout the proceedings. On stage near the president and other assembled dignitaries, the man’s yelling could faintly be heard, but he clearly made quite the impression among the crowd, which was otherwise overwhelmingly composed of the president’s staunch supporters.
“He was anti-abortion and Democrats,” said a woman named Susan who was seated below the activist’s perch in the tree. “He was really obnoxious.”
Much Ado About Abortion
Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock sparked a firestorm after he discussed abortion in cases of rape in a debate last night and said, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Democrats quickly went on the attack against Mr. Mourdock, focusing on an ad Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recorded for him that was released online Sunday. Though aides for Mr. Romney issued statements expressing disagreement with Mr. Mourdock’s position on rape and abortion, the campaign is not asking for the ad to be pulled.
Embattled Congressman Todd Akin’s campaign manager (and son) Perry Akin released a statement saying a new Rasmussen Reports poll showing that the elder Mr. Akin went from leading the Missouri Senate race to running 10 points behind his rival, incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill after his controversial comments on “legitimate rape” is actually bad news for Ms. McCaskill. The younger Mr. Akin’s rationale for this interpretation of the poll numbers is that Ms. McCaskill should be beating Mr. Akin by a lot more than 48 percent to 38 percent in the aftermath of his rape-remark firestorm.
“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48% after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is. If she can’t break fifty percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down,” the Akin campaign’s statement said.
For embattled Missouri congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin, the reverse of the old rap song is apparently true and more problems = more money. According to Mr. Akin’s website he has raised over $10,000 from supporters after declaring his intention to stay in the Senate race in the wake of a massive controversy over comments he made on “legitimate rape,” pregnancy and abortion.
“Donations are pouring in. Thank you for standing up against the liberal elite,” Mr. Akin wrote on Twitter last night.
Embattled congressman Todd Akin won’t be withdrawing from Missouri’s Senate race despite calls from leaders within his party for him to step aside and make room for another candidate after his comments about “legitimate rape” and abortion caused a massive controversy. Mr. Akin made his intention to stick with his Senate bid clear on a pair of radio interviews this afternoon where he admitted that he “misspoke one word,” but also accused his detractors of having “an overreaction.”
Though it has been less than two hours since Missouri Congressman Todd Akin took to the airwaves and vowed to keep his senate campaign going, he is now reportedly ending that bid following the flap over a statement he made that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” However, the rumors of Mr. Akin’s impending political demise didn’t stop New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from sending her supporters and email asking them to donate to Mr. Akin’s Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill.
“In all my years of public service, I’ve heard a lot of shocking remarks on the campaign trail. But yesterday’s appalling comment by Tea Party senatorial candidate Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri took things to a whole new level,” Ms. Gillibrand wrote. “This from someone who’s tied with Senator Claire McCaskill in the polls, from someone who could tip the balance of power in the Republicans’ favor. We can’t let Akin win. We need to help Claire, who’s been a strong progressive voice in the Senate on behalf of women’s rights. Give to Claire McCaskill’s campaign today and help make sure Akin and his abhorrent views don’t reach the Senate.”
Texas governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry sat down for a video interview with National Review Online last week and he discussed his reasons for opposing gay marriage. Mr. Perry addressed the topic when he was asked about voters who admired his economic policies, but wished he would “just back off on the social issues.” He answered by explaining that he thinks, though society may be becoming gay friendly, God’s stance on same-sex marriage is quite clear.
“The issue of traditional marriage is one that continues to bubble forward and I happen to believe that, if you’re going to have a society that is successful economically or otherwise, you’re going to have to have values that you attach that society to. For 2,000 years we have had marriage between a man and a woman,” said Mr. Perry. “I suspect that issue’s not going to go away, but just because you share a different view or you are flexible on the issue does not mean that God has changed his mind about it.”
Former New York Governor George Paraki and New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox held a conference call with reporters this morning ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering. Mr. Pataki claimed his emphasis on lower tax rates and de-regulation led to the creation of the school while President Obama’s policies have failed at spurring private sector development.
Though Messrs. Pataki and Cox focused on criticizing the president’s economic policies, they were also asked by Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller about the uproar over Vice President Joe Biden’s comments in support of same sex marriage yesterday and the lingering questions about where President Obama stands on the issue.
“I think it’s pretty simple, either you’re for something, or you’re against it and Vice President Biden has made it plain he’s for it. President Obama, on the other hand, is looking to have both sides where he’s appealing to those who are supportive of gay marriage, but is afraid to alienate those who don’t.”
At a press conference today, Christine Quinn and a host of fellow elected officials–including all of the top contenders for mayor–called on Republicans in the State Senate to withdraw their opposition a bill that would expand abortion rights in New York State.
That bill, called the Reproductive Health Act would, among other things, taking abortion out of the criminal code and put it in the health code. The bill would also permit abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy if the mother’s health is deemed to be at risk. Under current law, an abortion after 24th week is only legal if the life of the mother is at risk.
Asked if she would favor any restriction on the right to an abortion, Ms. Quinn said no–in fairly graphic terms.