ROANOKE, VA -- Presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan became the latest politician to weigh in on the ongoing controversy surrounding Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments about "legitimate rape.”
In an interview with the CBS Pittsburgh affiliate KDKA, Ryan tried to distance himself from Akin, with whom he once co-sponsored a bill to re-define "forcible rape," asserting on Tuesday night that “rape is rape.”
“His statements were outrageous, over the pail. I don’t know anybody who would agree with that. Rape is rape period, end of story,” Ryan told KDKA
And asked if abortions should be available to women who are raped, the seven-term Wisconsin congressman said he stands by his record.
“Look, I’m proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration,” Ryan said.
Akin, the Missouri congressman who is currently running for Senate, sparked a firestorm this week when he said if a woman is a victim of "legitimate rape," her body can shut itself down in order to prevent pregnancy.
Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., confirms with TODAY's Matt Lauer that vice presidential candidate and fellow congressman Paul Ryan advised him to step down amid the fallout of comments he made about rape and abortion.
Many top Republicans called for Akin to exit the race for so that the GOP would have a better chance of winning this key Senate race. Akin confirmed on the TODAY Show Wednesday morning that Ryan himself called Akin and personally asked him to withdraw from the race.
“Paul Ryan did give me a call and he felt that I had to make a decision. He advised me that it would be good for me to step down,” Akin said in the interview with NBC’s Matt Laur. “I told him that I was going to be looking at this very seriously, trying to weigh all the different points on this—and that I would make the decision. Because it’s not about me. It’s about trying to do the right thing and standing on principle. “
Neither Romney nor Ryan have addressed the Akin comments on the stump this week. Ryan spent Wednesday morning in Virginia – his fourth day in the state in the 12 days he has been running as Romney’s VP – highlighting just how important the commonwealth is in winning the election this November for Republicans.
“I’ve been coming to Virginia a lot these days, if you haven’t noticed that,” Ryan said, adding later that Virginia has a key role in saving “the American idea.”
“It is not too late to ignite the American dream. We can do this. We need the leadership now. We need to win this election. And Virginians of all people have a unique responsibility and an opportunity to deliver Virginia and save the American idea," he said.
And Ryan was quick to play the part of the attack dog for the GOP ticket accusing President Obama of touting an “imaginary recovery.”
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“We've got 23 million people out of work, struggling to find work today, unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 months, and the real unemployment rate is more like 15 percent,” Ryan said about the Obama-Biden administration while speaking outside Northwest Hardware. “He said that the private sector is doing just fine, we need more government. This is President Obama's imaginary recovery. It's not here.”
Ryan now heads to North Carolina where he will hold two public campaign events there over the next two days.