On PBS, Roll Call Reporter Ties Mourdock to Romney, Remembers Akin Gaffe as 'Horrific'

During the October 24 broadcast of the PBS Newshour, Gwen Ifill explored the state of current U.S. Senate races with Rothenberg Political Report’s Nathan Gonzales and Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz.

The first on the list was Indiana race between Richard Mourdock and Rep. Joe Donnelly.  Here, liberal media creep leeched into Toeplitz’s analysis as she found Mourdock’s comments about life and conception frivolously similar to what she called Todd Akin's “horrific gaffe” on the matter several weeks ago.

GWEN IFILL: Now, it [Mourdock’s comments] not only stirred up members of another Republican candidate [Todd Akin] who made dubious comments about rape, but also reverberated all the way to Mitt Romney and his campaign, didn't it?

SHIRA TOEPLITZ: It did. It did. And it's especially pertinent because Mitt Romney recently cut a television ad for Richard Mourdock here just last week, and that was seen as a real boon to Richard Mourdock's campaign, because Mourdock's fate, in many ways, relies on the presidential contest.

But you brought up Todd Akin, who, as we know, several weeks ago made a rather horrific gaffe about abortion. It's the similar case, because the words both have to do with abortion, but they are different set of words. So, I think it's important to make those distinctions.

Richard Mourdock, when he said -- he was really talking about his beliefs, and Todd Akin, when he was talking about this in Missouri, he was stating essentially a factual inaccuracy about biology.

GWEN IFILL: Yes, that women sometimes -- that their bodies are shut down and so there is not pregnancy. And he said he made a mistake. Today, that's not what we heard Richard Mourdock say. 

One more thing I want to ask you before I move back to Nathan here, which is his competitor, Joe Donnelly, the Democrat, he is also pro-life, right?

SHIRA TOEPLITZ: Yes, absolutely. Joe Donnelly is anti -- does favor anti -- excuse me -- he is pro-life. He does, however, unlike Mourdock, allow for exceptions for the life of the mother, incest and rape.

Toeplitz feels it's "especially pertinent" that this incident could reach all the way to the top of the Romney campaign because the governor cut a television ad for Mourdock.  This is exactly what the Democrats said. At least Toeplitz could cite it as the party line instead of merely repeating it as if she were a Democratic spokesperson. 

She could have noted that, on average, Romney is beating Obama in Indiana by 12.5 points.  Furthermore, the Democrats have so overly saturated Missouri with Akin’s rape comments that its effect has been rendered de minimis.  But she's not there to offer any notion that Akin and Mourdock might win despite how "horrific" the liberal journalists find them. 

Toeplitz has exposed herself as one of the folks in the media who want to make this race about anything else, but Obama’s record and Democrats’ mismanagement of the U.S. Senate.   Abortion is only an issue right now because Toeplitz and the Democrats  are trying to make ‘a tempest in a teapot’ incident into a major, game changing campaign story – which it’s not. 

Earlier: Toeplitz on Unlikable Romney in April. "I think the more Mitt Romney tries to be likable, the worse off he is. When he tries to be appealing, when he tries to seem like a regular Joe, it looks totally inaccurate and inauthentic on him. And what's interesting is the Obama White House has done a fairly good job of making the President likable, no matter what the economy is showing, no matter the Dow Jones average."

Campaign Watch Campaigns & Elections 2012 Presidential PBS News Hour Journalistic Issues Nathan Gonzales Gwen Ifill Shira Toeplitz