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The Akin Mess

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
August 21, 2012 1:22:25 PM PDT
How hard it is to solve the country's real problems. And how easy it is to get distracted from focusing on them.

That may be the takeaway from the giant d-i-s-t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n that is now consuming both the Republican and Democrat parties tonight, with the sideshow that has become the Todd Akin affair.

You know the brouhaha: The Republican Congressman from Missouri, a candidate for the U.S. Senate - which the Repubs are desperately trying to regain control of - put his political foot in his mouth by claiming that women have some unusual power to will themselves not to become pregnant when they are raped. He also used the phrase "legitimate rape." The fallout was predictable - Dems and women around the country were furious, and so were many of Akin's fellow GOP'ers.

The pressure on Akin to step aside and not run for Senate was and is huge. But today he said, with no credit given to Bob Dylan, he ain't goin' no where.

Some of his funding sources have dried up, and today he got a call from presumptive Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who didn't tell or ask him to leave the race. Mitt Romney has called on Akin to pull out - he issued a paper statement. But Akin at this writing is refusing to budge, believing his apology - for using the wrong words - is good enough.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee, which hosts its political convention in Tampa next week, passed the platform plank that calls for a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion, including if it's the result of rape or incest.

Obviously, abortion is an emotional issue. But neither candidate - and especially Romney - wants it to be the focus of this important election and campaign. But that's what it's become tonight - a huge focus.

We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, a bizarre story at the U.S. Open - where a referee has been arrested on charges that she murdered her 82-year-old husband in Los Angeles. 70-year-old Lois Goodman is now in a NYPD jail cell. She's accused of bludgeoning her husband with a coffee mug.

We're also on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where a planned construction site explosion on the Second Ave. Subway was a whole lot stronger than anyone thought it would be. Windows were shattered, sidewalks were broken, and buildings in the area are now being inspected for structural problems.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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