Saying that the comments “don’t make sense to the American people” and were “way out there,” President Obama just weighed in on the controversial remarks made over the weekend by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who said in a television interview that “if it’s a legitimate rape,” it’s rare for a woman to get pregnant and therefore want an abortion.
Akin, a candidate for one of Missouri’s Senate seats, set off a furor with his comments, which critics took as implying that some women make false claims about rape to justify abortions. Akin later said they were “off-the-cuff” comments and do not “reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”
Obama said Akin’s remarks show why it’s wrong to have “a bunch of politicians, most of whom are men,” trying to tell women what to do when it comes to health care decisions.
Obama made his comments this hour in the White House briefing room, where he’s made a surprise appearance and is taking questions from reporters.
Akin, meanwhile, has said he is not dropping out of the Senate race even though some in the GOP have said he should.
Update at 1:50 p.m. ET. Before He Leaves, A Warning To Syria:
The president just took his last question, about Syria. In addressing the issue of a military response to the Assad regime’s crackdown there, he said that “the red line for us” would be the use of chemical or biological weapons. The regime, said Obama, would suffer “enormous consequences. … That would change my calculations significantly.”