TAMPA, Fla. -- The Democratic National Committee refuses to allow Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to put Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments behind them, running a full page ad in the Tampa Tribune on Tuesday devoted to the GOP presidential ticket's record on abortion and women's health issues to coincide with the first official day of the Republican National Convention.
The ad knocks Ryan for co-sponsoring anti-abortion legislation with Akin that made no exceptions for rape, incest "or anything else," and the Republican Party's platform on abortion that similarly grants no exception for rape. The ad also cites Romney's exchange with Fox News host Mike Huckabee, in which the Republican presidential candidate said he would "absolutely" support a constitutional amendment to establish life as beginning at conception.
"Taking away a woman’s decision— any way they ‘kin," is the slogan the DNC attaches to a Romney-Ryan ticket.
Romney's campaign immediately sought to distance both Romney and his running mate from Akin, who sparked outrage for saying in an interview that if a woman is a victim of "legitimate rape," her body can prevent pregnancy. On the same day that Akin's comments attracted global attention, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul released a statement clarifying that "a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."
While that position is mostly consistent with Romney's stance on abortion, it opened complications for Ryan, who had collaborated with Akin on abortion legislation that limited federal funding for victims of "forcible rape." Democrats seized on the issue as an opportunity to pound Republicans on women's health issues, while the GOP spent the entire week leading into the Tampa convention trying to squelch the controversy.
Romney, Ryan and almost every member of the Republican Party first condemned Akin's remarks, then unsuccessfully called on the Missouri congressman to drop his Senate challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Ryan continued to defend his prior collaboration with Akin on Monday, when he told Fox News' Bret Baier that "forcible rape" was "stock language" used for a variety of bills he didn't author. "That language was removed to be very clear, and I agree with that," Ryan said. "Removing that language so we are very clear. Rape is rape, period, end of story."
UPDATE: 11: 24 a.m. -- Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg emailed the following comment in response to the ad:
See the DNC's ad below: DNC Tampa Tribune Ad
In the Obama economy, nearly six million women are unemployed and the poverty rate for women has reached a near two decade high. Women deserve better than four more years of President Obama’s failed policies. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will help women start businesses, receive more take home pay, and ensure that their children have bright futures.