Bloomberg News

Obama Assails Akin Remarks as Symbol of Desire to ‘Go Backward’

August 22, 2012

President Barack Obama told donors at a fundraising event that comments on rape and abortion by Todd Akin, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, represent a “desire to go backward instead of forward.”

“The interesting thing here is this is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class,” Obama told an audience at a dinner in New York tonight. “It’s representative of the desire to go backward instead of forward and the fights that we thought were settled 20, 30 years ago.”

Akin, a six-term congressman seeking to defeat Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, said during an Aug. 19 interview that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy. The remark spurred Republican leaders, including the party’s presumed presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to call for Akin to end his candidacy.

Akin, who later apologized for his comment, said yesterday that he will stay in the race.

Obama made a rare, impromptu appearance Aug. 20 at the daily White House reporters’ briefing and castigated Akin, calling the remarks “offensive” and “way out there.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at

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