Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is one of very few Republicans arguing that Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) deserves to be judged by his actions, not his words. But the socially conservative Iowan is now taking heat over his own comments, and clarifying in a statement that he doesn’t agree with Akin.
“The liberal press and their allies have again twisted my words,” he said in a statement. “I never said, nor do I believe, a woman, including minors, cannot get pregnant from rape, statutory rape or incest. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous, shameful, disgusting and nothing but an attempt to falsely define who I am.”
He added, “I have never heard of and categorically reject the so-called medical theory that launched this controversy.”
King told KMEG-TV Monday that “this election should be about, how did Todd Akin vote and what did he vote for and what did he stand for,” and praised his fellow congressman as “a strong Christian man, with a wonderful family.”
Akin has explained that when he said “legitimate rape,” he meant “forcible rape.” House Republicans at one point pushed legislation that would have limited federal funding of abortion to cases of “forcible” rape. So KMEG asked King Monday about victims of statutory rape or incest. King said, “Well, I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
That quote is being touted by liberals as evidence that King, like Akin, is out of touch when it comes to rape.
Now King says his words have been distorted.
In another interview Monday, King said he couldn’t yet comment on Akin’s remarks except to say that he’d “never heard of a medical situation such as implied or stated with his statement.” But he has since argued that Akin deserves to be judged by his votes rather than his words.
Thanks to redistricting, King faces his toughest reelection campaign yet, against former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack.