News Politics

McCaskill Has Massive Lead Over Akin in Latest Rasmussen Poll

Robin Marty

The Democratic senator is up 10 points in her race with the controversial congressman.

The first poll is out since Congressman Todd Akin made his ludicrous comments about rape victims, and he has taken quite a hit in his senate race.

According to Rasmussen Reports, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill now has a 10-point lead over her Republican rival, polling at 48 percent support to his 38 percent support.

Except Republican pressure on Akin to drop out to continue to mount as a result. Akin still has a few weeks where he can drop out of the race with a court order.

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News Abortion

Anti-Choice Senate Candidate Ken Buck on Having Cancer: ‘I Wanted To Be in Control of … My Body’

Jason Salzman

On Denver radio, Buck, the leading Republican candidate in the U.S. Senate race in Colorado, compared the "feeling" he had of wanting to be in control of his body during his bout with cancer with the desire of women to make a decision about whether to have an abortion. The difference, he said, is the "life of the unborn child."

Appearing on a Denver radio station Monday, Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck compared pregnancy with his recent battle with cancer.

“Yes, I am ‘pro-life,’” Buck told KLZ talk-show host Randy Corporon on his Wake Up show. “While I understand a woman wants to be in control of her body—it’s certainly the feeling that I had when I was a cancer patient, I wanted to be in control of the decisions that were made concerning my body—there is another fundamental issue at stake. And that’s the life of the unborn child. And I hold that life dear and precious and believe we have to do everything we can to protect the life of the unborn.”

Buck, who lost a tight race to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) in 2010, is leading a crowded field of Republicans vying to take on pro-choice Democrat Mark Udall in November.

In a December Public Policy Polling survey, Buck was the choice of 45 percent of GOP voters. His closest GOP competitor, state Sen. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs), garnered 8 percent in the poll.

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In 2010, Buck became known for repeatedly discussing his opposition to all abortion, including in cases of rape or incest. In one radio interview, he expressed his opposition to abortion for a girl raped by her teen brother.

Political observers agree that the votes of suburban women cost Buck a U.S. Senate seat in 2010, and Buck’s strong anti-choice positions are seen as a key reason women turned away from him, as well as his statements on other social issues.

Asked to respond to Buck’s radio comments, Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, told Rewire in an email, “Ken Buck was out of touch with Colorado voters the last time he sought elected office, and he still does not get it. Women must continue to have the fundamental right to have control of her body, and she is the only one who should be making decisions about what happens to her body without interference from politicians or government. Decisions about reproductive health should remain a decision between a woman and her health-care provider, period. Colorado voters have reaffirmed this several times over and will again in 2014.”

In his KLZ interview, Buck also expressed broad opposition to the Obama administration’s compromise position of requiring health insurance companies to include birth control in health plans.

“This administration has ignored those of us who place our faith in the front of our beliefs, and it’s just so sad to think that the government would even want to put itself in the position of forcing a doctor to perform an abortion or issue birth control or do other things that violate that doctor’s conscience or a hospital or an employer require to purchase certain types of insurance,” Buck told KLZ. “It’s short-sighted. It’s, in my opinion, a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, of the Bill of Rights. And it’s just sad that we’ve come to this point in our country’s history.”

Under Obamacare, no doctor is required to perform an abortion. The national health law does set minimum standards for health insurance.

Anti-choice Republicans have struggled in recent years in answering abortion-related questions. For example, Rep. Todd Akin’s thoughts about “legitimate rape” sunk his 2010 bid for a Senate seat in Missouri.

Roundups Politics

Repro Wrap: New Anti-Choice Candidates Struggle to Discuss Abortion in the Media

Robin Marty

After 2012, anti-choice special interest groups vowed that helping their candidates better prepare for media appearances would be their key to victory in 2014. How's that working out so far? In some cases, not well.

After the 2012 elections, pundits pinned Todd Akin’s loss in Missouri and Richard Mourdock’s in Indiana to their unpopular comments about refusing to allow abortions for rape victims. Anti-choice special interest groups vowed that helping their candidates better prepare for media appearances would be their key to victory in 2014.

How’s that working out so far? In some cases, not well.

Meet Iowa senate candidate David Young. A former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Young is hoping to win in June 2014 against Rep. Bruce Braley for the seat Democrat Tom Harkin will be vacating. As part of his campaign, he’s already wooing grassroots activists in the state and even promised a crowd at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition that if he’s elected he’ll try to convert Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to Christianity.

However, he seems to need some help with how he discusses abortion in the media. According to the Carroll Daily Times Herald, his spokesperson said his “long-standing position” on the issue is that “he believes abortion should only be a legal option in cases where the life of the pregnant mother is in jeopardy.” But during an interview with the newspaper, Young admitted that although he believes abortion should not be legal, he would not force victims of rape or incest to carry a child to term if they did not want to. When asked what he thinks “the penalty should be for a woman who has an abortion or a doctor who performs one,” he said, “I’m not ready to answer that because you’re really going deep, and I have not thought about this, and I should have, before walking into any kind of interview.”

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According to the New Orleans Times Picayune, Republicans are trying to convince Willie Robertson, the star of the A&E reality television series Duck Dynasty, to run for an open house seat during Louisiana’s 2013 special election. Robertson “may make Louisiana’s pro-life voters happy, happy, happy,” writes Ben Johnson at LifeSiteNews.com, noting that Robertson has spoken at a Texas crisis pregnancy center fundraiser and that his father has passionately advocated against abortion.

But some GOP operatives warn that recruiting a celebrity could backfire. “Celebrity candidates are very appealing to inside-the-Beltway consultants and reporters, but they usually run lousy campaigns,” one Republican Party adviser told the Washington Examiner.

Then there’s Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. From bullying the state medical board into writing and approving clinic regulations meant to shut down many abortion providers in the state to advocating that business owners, religious leaders, and activists go to jail rather than allow the birth control mandate to be enforced, the Republican attorney general hasn’t exactly hidden his anti-choice agenda. But with the governor’s mansion in sight, Cuccinelli is doing his best to take a more moderate stance on the issue for the 2013 election. However, PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter declared false Cuccinelli’s debate claim that “Every bill I’ve ever supported has either had language that says we’re conforming to the constitutional rulings of the Supreme Court or language to that effect. I’m not looking to make a challenge in that respect.” According to the site, “Cuccinelli has backed two bills during his career; one had the qualifying clause he described and the other—which Cuccinelli cosponsored—did not.

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