In Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, Republicans have endorsed former radio talk show host Jason Lewis. Since Lewis announced his campaign for Congress, he has faced criticism for past comments he made on his radio show about women and for comments he made about the Civil War, slavery and race.
Lewis has defended his past statements and his campaign also dismissed a call from one of his Republican opponents to release any archives he has of his old radio shows and podcasts — over twenty years of material.
Most of Lewis’ old radio shows and podcasts no longer appear online. Some of his podcasts disappeared around the time Lewis announced his campaign for Congress.
In August of 2012, Lewis dedicated multiple shows to discuss comments made by Congressman Todd Akin during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.
When asked if abortion should be legal in cases of rape, Akin said:
Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. 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. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
Below is video of Akin’s comments.
Lewis was critical of how Akin described his position on abortion. But he defended most of the comments made by Akin on abortion during his interview — comments which doomed Akin’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Describing Akin’s first comments as “legitimate,” Lewis said consensual acts of sex later turn into allegations of rape “all the time:”
But his first point was legitimate, I wish he would have stopped there and that is to say, that if you…believe that there ought to be an exception for rape and you are a pro-lifer, then every consensual sex act will turn into a rape — and that we see all the time.
In response to a caller to his show who described a conversation he had with a woman about being raped, Lewis asked questions about the incident. The caller expressed frustration at comments made by President Barack Obama that “rape is rape” when asked about the statements from Akin.
Rape is rape if it’s legitimately rape. There I sound like the candidate. Of course rape is rape, the question is whether it’s rape or not.
The “candidate” referenced in his quote was Akin — Lewis admitted he sounded like Akin, when he used the phrase “legitimately” to describe a rape.
Lewis also said he sided with “the feminists” in believing that “no” means “no” involving sexual relations:
I think the fundamental question is was there force involved — and ‘no’, does mean ‘no.’ I happen to side with quote, unquote ‘the feminists’ on that, it doesn’t matter how much of a tease she may be, or he may be, I guess if the women has the power in the relationship, if the answer is ‘no’ — it’s no. I don’t know how you get around that point.
Lewis summarized his concerns about Akin’s candidacy, which were focused more on the unfairness of how Akin’s comments were being portrayed by the media.
Believe it or not, there are a couple of things you got to understand here, and the first is, is perception, and perception is reality, and it’s not nice, it’s not fair, it’s just the way things are. And the perception right now is Todd Akin is sinking the GOP chances in Missouri. And if the perception holds, especially to the female voters he and Romney-Ryan will need come this, this November then his staying in the race sinks the GOP — whether he is treated fairly or not.
Now his views about pregnancy from rape being relatively rare as a percent of all abortions performed are absolutely true. And some people say look ‘the stress of from rape will induce a spontaneous abortion. It’s very, very difficult to get pregnant when you are stressed out.’ Nevertheless, the comment came off in a very caviler way, as though ‘hey, you were raped, don’t worry though, the stress will kill the baby.’ It became too nonchalant.
And regardless of whether you agree with Todd Akin or not, the perception, and regardless of whether it’s a creation of the mass media or a bunch of RINOs running for the hills, the perception is there. And whether Todd Akin is right, wrong, or being treated fairly or not, the fact is his staying in will hurt the party more than likely.
The question for Republicans is whether Lewis’ past comments will hurt the chances of Republicans keeping control of Minnesota’s Second Congressional District.
The similarities between the candidacies of Akin in 2012 and Lewis is 2016 are striking.
Meet Minnesota’s Todd Akin: Jason Lewis.