Mitchell Reports | August 20, 2012
>> rice. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. the republican party now has a todd akin problem. the missouri senate candidate whose comments on so-called legitimate rape have put gop hopes to take over the senate in doubt, and forced mitt romney to respond. times running out for congressman akin, under pressure from scott brown and other republicans to bow out. he has to quit the race before 5:00 tomorrow afternoon or be a potential headache stuck on that ballot, a headache for republicans all the way to election day . susan page is washington bureau chief for " usa today " and is with me today for our daily fix. susan, the last 24 hours have been unbelievable. we've talked about gender wars, about the gender gap that republicans were fighting back against, and now here you've got todd akin , a leading candidate for ahead of claire mccaskill until this happened. what is the impact?
>> todd akin not just random challenger, but a sitting member of the house. you know, i think this has the potential to cause -- to give claire mccaskill a second chance at winning another term in missouri, especially if todd akin doesn't take the hint and get out by 5:00 tomorrow afternoon. you know, it could have repercussions elsewhere. you talked about scott brown in massachusetts calling for him, calling for todd akin to step down. you could see the ramifications in a close race like massachusetts, where scott brown needs to get the votes of women and of independent and democratic women, and this creating a problem for republicans elsewhere makes it harder potentially for republicans to win back the senate. one of the things they once thought was pretty much a guaranteed thing this year.
>> let's play the rest of what todd akin said. so people get the full impact of his comments not out of context.
>> if an abortion could be considered in the case of say tubal pregnancy or something like that, what about in the case of rape? should it be legal or not?
>> well, you know, people always want to try and make that as one of those things how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. it seems to me first of all, from what i understand from doctors, that's really rare. if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. you know, i think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
>> i'm trying to understand what possessed him, what he's thinking of. he then tried to backtrack but in explaining just the biology of it and of course, the politics of it, and this has caused mitt romney and i must say, this was a very, very fast response time , andrea saul was out immediately last night with a statement from the romney/ryan campaign saying those comments were outrageous. we understand now that mitt romney is not going to have anything further to say. he did speak to national review online today, though.
>> he pushed back pretty hard on national review online this morning saying it was offensive, it was wrong and ought to be corrected. i mean, just the phrase legitimate rape is one i think is very hard to understand what that means, and the biological explanation is not one i'm familiar with. so i would be interested if there is some kind of biological process , it's not one i've heard of.
>> we'll deal with that. we have dr. nancy snyderman coming up in just a second. i also wanted to touch on the sea of galilee , a holy site for christians, christ walked on the water there. it is a place for bathing, most israelis, people raised have a right of passage we're told by our colleague, martin fletcher , who all take the plunge in the sea of galilee so there's nothing unusual about it but this was a rowdy bunch. it was 20 members of a 30 member delegation paid for by the pro- israel lobby and its offshoot, this foundation for education, and they do very good seminars, we're told, in israel but they are paying for these members to go and apparently, the members were chewed out the next day by the leaders who were not present for this post-dinner somewhat drunken revelry.
>> from the politico story posted last night, we understand there was drinking going on, that one of the members of congress from my home state of kansas stripped naked to go swimming. i'm from kansas, i'm familiar with this being the process that you would do in the sea of galilee . i think voters must -- voters who already have the lowest possible regard for congress has gotten even lower.
>> the republican brand, the house republican brand, the congressional brand, writ large, is just in terrible shape and here they are, this happened a year ago right after the debt ceiling debate, the debacle, and you know, you have to wonder. there was, by the way, there was a confusion about reporting. there was no politico initially reported the fbi was looking into this. there was no fbi jurisdiction into this but one member of this delegation was being investigated separately by the fbi .
>> i'm not sure saying the fbi is not investigating is much of a defense with voters when you look at this kind of behavior in a sacred place while you're on, by the way, a fact-finding trip.
>> fact-finding indeed. thank you very much, susan page . great to see you.