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Priebus: GOP platform 'not the platform of Mitt Romney'


The official platform language poised for approval at next week's Republican National Convention doesn't fully represent the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

On the heels of Rep. Todd Akin's incendiary remarks on rape, NBC News has confirmed that next week's Republican National Convention platform could include calls for the "Human Life Amendment," which would outlaw abortion in all circumstances, even in cases of rape or incest. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus discusses.

Republicans are gathered this week in Tampa to draft official platform language, and potential language calling for the adoption of a constitutional amendment to curb abortion rights has drawn newfound scrutiny.

The RNC's platform committee is set to vote Tuesday evening on draft language related to abortion, which calls for "a human life amendment to the Constitution," along with "legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."



Scott Audette / Reuters

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveils the stage for the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 20, 2012.

"I think as far as the details of some of these things, like an exception for rape or life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have and don't share some of the detail on some of those exceptions," Priebus said on MSNBC. "This is the platform of the Republican Party; it's not the platform of Mitt Romney."

The party adopted identical language in its 2004 and 2008 platforms, which doesn't talk about exceptions or granular details, but also doesn't specifically stipulate an exception to bans on abortion in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.

The RNC platform has invited renewed scrutiny because of an uproar this week over comments made by Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP candidate for Senate in Missouri, in defense of his opposition to abortion in instances of rape. He said that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy, a statement for which he's since apologized and said was factually incorrect.

(The Romney campaign said in its statement Sunday disagreeing with Akin that the former Massachusetts governor would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.)

Republicans are especially sensitive, though, to the revived debate over abortion in part due to the fact that President Barack Obama holds a healthy lead over Romney among women voters.

"Although these particular comments have led Gov. Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves," Obama said of Akin's comments during a press conference on Monday, "I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions -- or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape -- I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party."

The Obama campaign also launched a TV ad making issue of presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's voting record in Congress, which called for stripping funding for Planned Parenthood, and other efforts to curb abortion rights.

"I don't really buy the fact that a pro-abortion stance means that you're pro-women," Priebus said in his MSNBC appearance. "I think the pro-life position is a positive for us with women, not a negative."

Republicans could still change the draft language before tonight's platform committee vote; the full convention is slated to vote on the platform on Monday.

NBC's Mark Murray contributed.