Former Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich defended Missouri Rep. Todd Akin on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying, “People make mistakes.”
Akin made controversial remarks last month about rape and abortion, causing several party leaders, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to tell the Republican congressman he should step down.
“I think Todd Akin was the choice of the people of Missouri,” Gingrich said. “I think Todd Akin has publicly apologized, and the last poll shows he’s beating the Democratic senator. I think that we ought to go on from that.”
Gingrich’s remarks stunned television host David Gregory and left the political roundtable of five speechless.
“You’re the first Republican, frankly, Newt, I’ve heard who said that he should stay in the race.”
Gingrich’s comments were in response to roundtable guest Carly Fiorina’s statement that “Todd Akin should go,” which led to the topic of abortion.
“I just think people ought to be a little cautious about saying the voters of Missouri don’t count,” Gingrich added.
Gingrich also chastised Republican strategist Karl Rove for his comments about murdering Akin.
“In the age of Gabby Giffords, it is not a joke to say that a member of Congress ought to get murdered,” he said. “I’m frankly fed up with the one-sided bias.”
“How can [Joe] Biden remain as vice president?” he asked, referring to Biden’s comments about putting voters “back in chains” during a campaign rally in Virginia. “Where’s the outrage over over-deliberate racism?”
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