Former Missouri congressman Todd Akin said the liberal media twisted his words to paint him as a villain when he used the term "legitimate rape" during his 2012 Senate campaign on a HuffPost Live interview on Friday.
The move by the conservative Akin to choose a liberal media outlet to promote his new book, Firing Back, was unusual and unexpected, especially since the live-streaming network allows viewers to join in on the discussion.
"The legitimate doesn’t apply to rape," said the unsuccessful Senate candidate in the interview.
"I need you to give this book a good plug," he told host Marc Lamont Hill. "Tell liberals, ‘You’ll hate every word of it.’"
Hill, to his credit, only opined once during the seemingly difficult interview and told Akin he read the book and found it "thoroughly unpersuasive."
Akin’s interview did not appear to be any attempt at an apology, had that been the reason viewers tuned in. He acknowledged his "poor choice of words," but blamed the media for taking them out of context. Not only did Akin defend his use of the term "legitimate rape," saying it is a law enforcement term he picked up while talking to police in Missouri, he said the term is short for "legitimate claim of rape."
Hill pointed out that Time reached out to law enforcement who said they’ve never before heard the term in question.
There was even an attempt by Akin to clarify his previous comments about a woman’s ability to conceive, or lack thereof, as a result of a rape. Akin told Hill the "stress of rape and stress in general can reduce the probability of getting someone pregnant."
He pointed out that he had staffers working on his campaign who were conceived through rape – an unnecessary proclamation that didn’t land as he may have intended. Meanwhile, he dodged Hill’s query asking if in retrospect, he’d avoid the conversation.
Akin continued being ambiguous, using open-ended rhetoric like, "Is this the country we want to live in?" He also addressed Hill as "brother" twice – much to the chagrin of those tweeting along and commenting – which, if it hadn’t been clear already, notched this interview as a loss for Akin (though he may not see it that way since he didn’t deny his consideration of running for Congress in 2016).
Here are some tweets about the interview from viewers:
Fantastic textual evidence from major state & federal law enforcement agencies being brought up by @marclamonthill in his Todd Akin chat.— Mattingly Messina (@MattinglyMess23) July 18, 2014
Todd Akin Interview Roundup: --"Legitimate" said 13 times --"Rape" said 20 times— HuffPost Live (@HuffPostLive) July 18, 2014
Todd Akin is not the first to confuse being useful to the media with being liked or respected by them.— John Hayward (@Doc_0) July 18, 2014
Todd Akin keeps saying "brother" and Marc Lamont Hill says it back and it’s so extremely awkward.— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) July 18, 2014