Howard Fineman: 'Todd Akin Is the Paul Ryan of Missouri'

Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman on Monday's Hardball compared the Republican vice presidential candidate to a congressman who is under fire for discussing what makes a "legitimate rape." Fineman attacked, "Because Todd Akin is the Paul Ryan of Missouri." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Akin on Sunday was asked about women who get pregnant after being raped. He replied, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Fineman connected, "What matters is that the views that Todd Akin has espoused and the legislation he's supported is exactly in line with what the perspective Republican vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, believes and supported." Matthews, typically, derided the Republican Party's "right-wing assault on women, this caveman view of the sexes."

The host took Congressman Akin's comment as an indictment of the GOP, mocking the party as "the hard-right wild men who believe the President's a secret Muslim invader."

Fineman later added, "And this created a huge problem for the Romney campaign today and yesterday as they sought to sever Todd Akin from Paul Ryan and unite Paul Ryan with the somewhat different view that Mitt Romney now has."

On August 7th, Fineman touted his non-biased credentials in the Huffington Post, insisting, "I'm pretty well known for keeping an even keel ideologically and for steering clear of partisanship."

A transcript of the August 20th segment, which aired at 5:01pm EDT, follows:


CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me start tonight with this right-wing assault on women, this caveman view of the sexes that has now shown its ugly head. Nobody paid it any attention last week when Speaker John Boehner himself dared to mention the so-called knuckle draggers in his party, the hard-right wild men who believe the President's a secret Muslim invader, that women who have an abortion or even use an IUD should be treated as murderers. Now comes this Republican candidate in Missouri, Todd Akin, talking about legitimate rape and spouting some caveman theory that sex, which is forced, cannot result in pregnancy. Finally, we meet the missing link, the evidence that the party of Lincoln cannot get in bed with the most freakish elements of the right: The birthers and the personhood nuts and all the rest of this menagerie and not become itself a freak show. Let's start it right clearly up front. A woman forced to have sexual relations at the threat of harm is a victim of rape. There are no qualifiers, no area of legitimacy or illegitimacy.
 
HOWARD FINEMAN: What matters here and what makes this important politically is not what it might or might not do to the Missouri Senate race, whether he stays in or not, et cetera, Claire McCaskill's chances of re-election or not. What matters is that the views that Todd Akin has espoused and the legislation he's supported is exactly in line with what the perspective Republican vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, believes and supported. That's what turns this into a huge issue. Because Todd Akin is the Paul Ryan of Missouri. And this created a huge problem for the Romney campaign today and yesterday as they sought to sever Todd Akin from Paul Ryan and unite Paul Ryan with the somewhat different view that Mitt Romney now has.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org