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July 10, 2014

Former Rep. Todd Akin (R) famously destroyed his candidacy in the 2012 Missouri Senate race when he dismissed the issue of abortion in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape, saying: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Now, in his upcoming book, Politico reports, Akin does state one of his regrets from the whole controversy: That he publicly apologized for the remark, in a TV ad.

"By asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said," Akin writes. Instead, in his book Akin continues to stand by the claim — which is rejected by the medical community — that pregnancy can be prevented in cases of sexual assault. "Doubt me? Google 'stress and infertility,' and you will find a library of research on the subject."

Here is the actual TV ad to which Akin is referring, which was released in late August 2012, in which he stated: "The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness." --Eric Kleefeld

Baltimore
2:34 p.m. ET

In a Fox News interview Monday, Mitt Romney criticized Hillary Clinton's speech on police reform last week, saying Clinton was trying to "get more support in the African-American community."

Last week, Clinton called for the use of body cameras in every police department to increase transparency. During her speech at Columbia University, Clinton said that millions fewer Americans would live in poverty if it weren't for the U.S.' mass incarceration practices.

Romney, meanwhile, is having none of it, calling Clinton's speech "political in nature" and "very inappropriate."

"I was concerned that her comments really smacked of politicization of the terrible tragedies that are going on there," Romney said on Fox & Friends Monday, referencing the events in Baltimore. "We don't have mass incarcerations in America. Individuals are brought before tribunals, and they have counsel, they're given certain rights. Are we not going to lock people up who commit crimes, is that what she's suggesting?" 

Watch Romney's interview in the video below. —Meghan DeMaria

May the force be with you
1:53 p.m. ET
Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

At least, according to this Star Wars-themed promotional missive in honor of Star Wars Day:

Scott Walker: Star Wars nerd, Yoda-supported, and one slighty elongated last name away from intergalactic glory. Kimberly Alters

This doesn't look good
1:47 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Friday, the Pentagon released its annual report on sexual assaults in the military. Now, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has released her own report criticizing the Pentagon's data.

"I don't think the military is being honest about the problem," Gillibrand told The Associated Press. Gillibrand's critique alleges that the Pentagon didn't provide her with accurate assault figures from several military bases, and she says the actual number of sex crimes is more than what the Defense Department reported.

Gillibrand analyzed 107 military assault cases and found that in most cases, the punishments were "too lenient," AP reports. Less than a quarter of the cases went to trial at all, and only 11 led to a conviction for a sex crime. The Pentagon's report stresses that offenders "will be held accountable," AP reports, but Gillibrand questions that claim. As an example, she cites the case of an airman accused of sexual assault by three different victims who was discharged from the military without going to trial.

One of Gillibrand's main issues with the Pentagon report is her concern for the spouses of service members and for civilian women who lived near military bases. Gillibrand said that these people are "especially vulnerable" to assault, AP notes, but they aren't included in the Defense Department's reports. A Defense Department spokesperson, meanwhile, told AP that the department "does not have authority to include civilians in its surveys." Meghan DeMaria

Bridgegate
12:50 p.m. ET
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has strenuously denied that he was aware of the events surrounding the Bridgegate scandal until after the fact, but a new poll from Monmouth University shows that a majority of New Jersey adults don't believe him.

The poll, which surveyed 500 people across the state, found that 56 percent of New Jersey adults believe Christie knew about the politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as they happened in 2013. Only 33 percent agreed that Christie learned about the lane closures after the event. In addition to believing Christie knew about the lane closures, 50 percent of respondents believed Christie was "personally involved" in the decision, while just 34 percent said Christie was not involved.

Unsurprisingly, the poll was sharply divided by political affiliation. Seventy-one percent of Democrats believed Christie knew about the lane closures as they occurred, versus just 35 percent of Republicans. The poll's release comes as two former Christie aides, Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges connected to the lane closures.

No matter their views on Bridgegate, members of both parties agreed on one thing, though: 54 percent of respondents believed Christie is not doing a good job. Meghan DeMaria

Really?
12:39 p.m. ET
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Five-year-old Connor Ruiz, a special needs student in Philadelphia, New York, has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at school — and he ended up shackled and handcuffed in a police car as a result.

After the boy began "screaming, kicking, punching and biting" in class, school officials called his parents and the state police. When the police arrived before the parents, they cuffed, shackled, and took Connor away for a psychiatric evaluation. According to his mother, the doctor Connor met said he was just throwing a bad tantrum.

Connor's parents found marks on his wrists from the cuffs, and they plan to sue the school. "An officer told me they had to handcuff his wrists and ankles for their safety," said Connor's mom, Chelsea Ruiz. "I told him that was ridiculous. How could someone fear for their safety when it comes to a small, 5-year-old child?" Bonnie Kristian

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11:56 a.m. ET
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Outpacing many states in the marijuana reform game, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico legalized marijuana for medical use on Sunday. Thanks to an executive order by the island's governor, Alejandro García Padilla, "some or all controlled substances or components of the cannabis plant" are available for medical use, effective immediately.

Padilla noted in a press release that medical cannabis has been shown to be effective to "relieve pain caused by multiple sclerosis, AIDS virus, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, migraine, Parkinson's, and other diseases that often do not respond to traditional treatments." However, the same release makes clear that this should not be construed as sanction for recreational marijuana use, which will stay distinct and illegal in Puerto Rican law. Bonnie Kristian

2016 Watch
11:30 a.m. ET
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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Monday announced his 2016 campaign for the White House with a kickoff event in his hometown of Detroit.

"I'm Ben Carson and I'm a candidate for president of the United States," Carson said.

The 63-year-old Carson, who has no political experience, rose to prominence in 2013 after he criticized President Obama during a National Prayer Breakfast as the president sat feet away. Though Carson ranks in the middle of the pack in early 2016 primary polls, he is considered an extreme long shot to capture the nomination.

Also Monday, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for the 206 GOP nomination. The two join Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the GOP side of the race. Jon Terbush

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