Using Obama ‘Gaffe’ To Defend Todd Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Statement?

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, James Taranto tries and fails to compare what he calls a gaffe by the “World’s Greatest Orator,” to the “legitimate rape” comment by former Missouri Representative Todd Akin.

This is President Obama’s gaffe, according to Taranto.

President Obama — The odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately.

And then Taranto’s unfortunate comparison.

James Taranto (“The Great Orator Gaffes Again“) — Obviously when he deployed that adverb he was thinking of the unfortunate souls killed in car accidents, not the victims of terrorism. He simply misspoke–just as Todd Akin did last year when he used the unfortunate phrase “legitimate rape.” But for some reason, the World’s Greatest Orator and the most powerful man in the world is held to lower standards of verbal exactitude than a lowly congressman from Missouri.

Or your comparison is bullshit?

Obama made the above statement in an interview with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show earlier this week. Does it qualify as a gaffe? Maybe. But I think it’s more apt to say he “misspoke” as Taranto points out (after the attention-getting article headline). And unless you are a partisan hack, you knew what Obama meant. It’s not like he got the facts wrong, again, as Taranto points out. So what are we talking about again? Ah yes…

Contrast Obama’s misspeak with Todd Akin’s supposedly similar misspeak last year when running for the U.S. Senate.

Todd Akin — If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

But did Akin misspeak, or was he just plain wrong? Taranto seems to think these two less than stellar verbal communications are about equal. But while Obama said nothing factually challenged, the same cannot be said of Akin. Of course Taranto focuses on the sound bite friendly “legitimate rape” part of Akin’s comment, but it’s what comes after those two words that is the furthest from reality. “Shut that whole thing down”? What’s that all about? And when you consider the context of that statement, it’s not only factually challenged, it’s grotesque, because he is saying this as an opponent to choice, and in this case, the choice to abort a pregnancy as a result of rape. See, Akin is going to tell you women how your bodies work, that way you understand his need to regulate your bodies.

As for Taranto, try again.


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