Romney's abortion doctor

Romney met with Jack Willke, who popularized Akin's theory of abortion; and other top Thursday stories

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 23, 2012 1:45PM (EDT)

Romney's abortion doctor: The Todd Akin controversy is coming closer to Mitt Romney after it came out that the presumed GOP nominee touted the endorsement of Dr. Jack Willke, a early pro-life movement leader who is credited with popularising Akin’s bogus beliefs on rape and abortion. Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign touted Willke’s endorsement and Willke told the UK Telegraph that he met with Romney October, and that the candidate and him agree on “almost everything.” “He told me ‘thank you for your support – we agree on almost everything, and if I am elected President I will make some major pro-life pronouncements,” Willke said. The doctor said he also met with presumed vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.

Some pundits are already calling Wilke Romney’s  Jeremiah Wright for the doctor’s controversial and inaccurate views on abortion. Wilke is perhaps best known for his “the tubes are spastic” theory that a woman cannot get pregnant from rape.

Steve King gets cold feet: Under pressure for comments echoing Rep. Todd Akin’s on rape and abortion, Rep. Steve King of Iowa has pulled out of a planned September debate with Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack. In a letter from the debate’s sponsors, provided by the Vilsack campaign, the Democrat was informed that King refused to agree to the debate format, and thus the event “cannot take place.” The sponsors -- The Ames Tribune, the Ames Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters, and the Iowa State University Committee on Lectures -- wanted to have a panel of moderators and allow constituents to ask questions, but King would only agree to a completely unmoderated forum. The sponsors said they tried to change the format to accommodate King’s concerns, but wrote, “is unfortunate that the King campaign has declined our invitation.” Both campaigns have said they want to hold numerous debates, but have had difficulty making it happen so far.

Facts, schmacts: Romney indicated yesterday that he doesn’t much care what fact checkers have to say about his campaign or ads, as he’ll just keep running them anyway. As the AP noted yesterday (in an unusual move for the staid news agency that tends to eschew controversy), Romney keeps pushing his claim that Obama is dismantling Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law, despite the fact that it’s “factually inaccurate.” Confronted with the AP report yesterday in an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney replied, "Fact-checkers on both sides of the aisle will look in the way they think is most consistent with their own views.” Of course, it’s non-partisan fact checkers who have discredited his argument, but the response suggest he doesn’t care either way. It's ironic because  he previously said campaigns should stop running ads deemed false by media fact checkers like the ones discrediting his ads.

Today's fiscal cliff hysteria: If the Congress does not head off the so-called “fiscal cliff” of spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect on January 1, the U.S. is headed for recession, the Congressional Budget Office said yesterday. The nonpartisan budget office expects the economy to grow slightly next year, unless Congress does not act, in which case they expect the economy to contract slightly.

Rove totally did not violate campaign finance law: Karl Rove briefed a dozen senior Republican lawmakers in the Capitol in July about political races across the country, which would seem to defy campaign finance laws against coordination, but apparently does not. Rove is connected to the American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS groups, but is not a paid employee and was careful to avoid saying things that may cross into technical coordination in his meeting. It’s just another example of how the key safeguard the Supreme Court assumed would exist when it handed down its Citizens United decision -- non-coordination -- is hopelessly dysfunctional and porous.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Abortion Mitt Romney Paul Ryan Todd Akin