The main exponent of Todd Akin’s theory that rape victims don’t get pregnant is a pro-life activist and doctor named Jack Willke. And he claims that he got a private meeting with Mitt Romney as recently as late last year.
The claim comes in an article just out from The Daily Telegraph (for what it’s worth, it’s the same pub and reporter who wrote the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ piece a few weeks ago which provided the inglorious kick off to Romney’s European tour). As reporter Jon Swaine explains, Willke was an official surrogate for Romney back in 2008. Willke claims that he got a private meeting with Romney as recently late last year and told Willke “we agree on almost everything” about the pro-life cause.
The Romney campaign refused comment.
Just yesterday, he explained his theory to The New York Times as follows: “”This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”
And here’s a press release Romney’s campaign put out in 2008 welcoming Willke as an official campaign surrogate: “I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country. He knows how important it is to have someone in Washington who will actively promote pro-life policies. Policies that include more than appointing judges who will follow the law but also opposing taxpayer funded abortion and partial birth abortion. I look forward to working with Dr. Willke and welcome him to Romney for President.”
Now, pushing for a bit more tea leaf reading, the article notes that Willke apparently wrote a public letter of support for Akin today. And Willke further volunteers that he’s met “several times” with Paul Ryan to discuss his views on abortion. And, according to Willke, Ryan says they’re on the same page too.
Now, on this latter point, Willke’s not clear on just what Ryan was agreeing to. And it’s pretty apparent that Willke’s coming forward to give Romney and Ryan very big and unwelcome hugs to help blunt efforts to boot Akin out of the race.
You might say Willke is in a position to be a bit self-serving with these accounts. But he either met with Mitt or he didn’t. And if he really got a private sit-down with Mitt during this campaign (that is to say, if Romney was actively courting his support this cycle), is Romney really in a position to say that Akin’s so out of the ballpark that he’s got to retire immediately from politics? That would mean Romney was actively courting this man’s support for this campaign.
[Ed.Note: This post originally reported that Willke had claimed a meeting took place this calendar. He claims the meeting took place in October 2011.]
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.