Mike Huckabee: 'rape can create extraordinary people'
Attempt to calm the Todd Akin 'legitimate rape' row goes awry for former Republican governor
AN ATTEMPT to calm troubled Republican waters has backfired for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (pictured). Now a radio host, he interviewed Todd Akin on Monday as outrage continued over the latter's ill-judged remarks on rape.
Akin, a Republican candidate for the US Senate, provoked fury the day before the interview by claiming that women rarely became pregnant from "legitimate rape" because their bodies "shut the whole thing down". He later apologised, saying he "misspoke".
Huckabee invited him onto his show to explain his remarks and save his campaign. Akin's faux pas has serious resonance for the Republican party as he is close to Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's chosen running-mate in this year's presidential election.
Ryan and Akin co-sponsored an anti-abortion bill together in 2011. Ryan has tried to distance himself from Akin by saying he favours abortion for women who have been raped – but critics point out he has not always held that view.
Now Huckabee, remembered for a failed attempt to become Republican presidential candidate in 2008, seems to have made things worse – adding to the impression that Republicans have some strange views on rape. This is particularly bad news for the party when Democrat incumbent Barack Obama is popular with female voters.
As the LA Times reports, Huckabee suggested that while rapes are "horrible tragedies", some have resulted in the birth of admirable human beings. He said: "Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape." (Waters was a celebrated gospel singer.)
Huckabee went on: "I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organisation. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape…
"Even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things."
Akin's original gaffe cause the bizarre term "legitimate rape" to trend on Twitter. Huckabee's use of the phrase "forcible rape" seemed equally likely – given that all rape is forcible – to create a similar storm.