Former GOP congressman Todd Akin on Thursday claimed that his remarks about "legitimate rape" were taken out of context for political purposes, and that Democrats were really the party with a vendetta against women.
"Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term and its abbreviation for 'legitimate case of rape,'" Akin said in an interview on MSNBC. "This is something that was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes," he later added.
Akin did accept some culpability, saying he "misspoke some words." But, he continued, "it was intentionally taken out of context. It's made into this great big deal so I'm sort of this villain for the whole world."
From there, Akin went on to accuse former President Bill Clinton of repeatedly assaulting women, ding Hillary Clinton for, as a public defender decades ago, representing a rapist, and say that several people on his campaign were conceived via rape — a remark that seemed to undermine his comment that a women's body "has ways to shut that whole thing down." --Jon Terbush
Some Republicans were caught actually sobbing after Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the House speaker race
Everyone had just finished saying the Pledge when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stood up and announced he would be withdrawing his bid for speaker of the House — a decision that has thrown a wrench into the plans of the confused and scattered GOP Congressional leadership. In fact, McCarthy's announcement came as such a surprise that Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) said some members were actually sobbing afterward. "The person next to me was crying," Rooney told The Hill.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) had the same story for The Washington Post's Robert Costa:
Rep. Peter King tells me that members are crying in cloakroom, unable to handle the unrest and confusion. "A banana republic," he says.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 8, 2015
Likewise, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) told The Hill that fans of McCarthy's were in shock. "They lined up to give him a hug," Huelskamp said. "I saw tears in eyes. It's the strangest thing I've seen in a long time." Jeva Lange
The Federal Reserve released the minutes from its September meeting today. We learned the results of that meeting the day it ended, but the minutes can still provide a window into what's going on in the heads of the Fed officials who vote on monetary policy. Take this quote:
To some [members], the continued subdued trend in wages was evidence of an absence of upward pressure on inflation from current levels of labor utilization. Several others, however, noted that weak productivity growth and low price inflation might be contributing to modest wage increases. A number of participants reported that some of their business contacts were experiencing labor shortages in various occupations and geographic areas resulting in upward pressure on wages, with a few indicating that the pickup in wages had become more widespread.
Consider that line against something you'd never read in the Fed minutes. Something like: "Other members responded that their contacts amongst the unemployed and low-income workers saw no evidence of rising wage pressure at all."
Fed officials understandably rely on their contacts throughout the world of business owners to gauge regional changes in the economy. Those contacts have vested interests in having monetary policy prioritize low inflation over low unemployment. That doesn't mean the stress and worries they're under are not genuine. But with the exception of recent activism efforts, people who desperately need job growth to continue have no equivalent access to Fed officials' ears. Cold aggregate data is all that speaks for them.
That's bound to have an impact on how the Fed weighs it priorities. Hearing from people on the ground may be qualitative, not quantitative, but it can help parse the quantitative data. Human beings are social creatures, after all, and Fed officials are only human. Jeff Spross
U.S. officials reported Thursday that Russian missiles aimed at Syria fell short of their target and crashed in a rural area of Iran. Intelligence estimates that at least four missiles crashed, though it remains unclear where they landed. Russian ships were positioned in the South Caspian Sea, and officials say that missiles' flight path would have "taken them across the northern sections of Iran and Iraq on the way to Syria," The New York Times reports.
Facebook will be adding some flexibility to how users choose to "like" a post — but it won't be a "dislike" button, as some people have speculated. Instead, Facebook is testing emoji "reactions," where users can pick emotions such as "sad," "haha," "love," and "wow" to express how they feel about a post. "As you can see, it’s not a 'dislike' button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly," Facebook's Chief Product Officer Chris Cox wrote in a post introducing the feature.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 8, 2015
The experiment is limited to Spain and Ireland for the time being, but after a short test run, it will likely expand worldwide on both mobile and desktop devices. Jeva Lange
It's still a bit of a mystery what happened behind closed doors on Thursday when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unexpectedly decided to drop out of the race for speaker of the House. Though details are scarce, McCarthy elaborated in a tweet:
We're public servants. I have always put this Conference and Country ahead of myself. We need to unite behind one leader and get to work.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 8, 2015
McCarthy also held a short news conference, part of which you can watch below. Jeva Lange
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 8, 2015
Conservatives are buzzing that Kevin McCarthy dropped his speakership bid because he was allegedly having an affair
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday shocked the political world by suddenly dropping his bid to replace John Boehner (R-Ohio) as speaker, with the initial speculation focusing on his inability to win the support of hard-core conservatives who for years have made life miserable for the House Republican leadership.
But could there be another reason McCarthy dropped out?
Conservatives, like Erick Erickson at Red State, are buzzing that McCarthy may have dropped out because of rumors that he was having an extramarital affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) of North Carolina:
There's a guy out in America who has emails for a massive number of members of Congress and the email addresses of highly influential conservatives outside Congress.
A few days ago, he emailed out to 91 people, including these members of Congress, an email with a series of links to stories alleging a relationship between Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) of North Carolina. It is worth noting that the two deny a relationship. [Red State]
Both Erickson and Matt Lewis also note that Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina this week mysteriously called on candidates who had committed "misdeeds" to drop out of the race.
"It is again worth noting that both parties deny it," Erickson writes. "But the rumor itself may have led to McCarthy's collapse." Ryu Spaeth
Rep. Charlie Dent: We might have to 'assemble a bipartisan coalition' to elect a speaker of the House
With Republicans reeling after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly dropped out of the race for House speaker Thursday, it suddenly seems that no one else — McCarthy was the favorite — will be able to secure enough votes for the job. While the House Freedom Caucus has endorsed Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), he does not have the 218 votes needed to be elected speaker.
That leaves few interesting options. As Charlie Dent (R-Penn.) told CNN's Dana Bash, Congress might be forced to "assemble a bipartisan coalition" to elect the next speaker of the House. While Bash seemed skeptical that Democrats would vote for a Republican, Dent suggested Paul Ryan might be the man for the job (too bad Ryan has already said he doesn't want the gig). Part of the problem, Dent added, is that the Republicans have been demanding unreasonable concessions. But as Bash later pointed out on air, "Someone has to be speaker." It very much remains to be seen just who that will be. Jeva Lange