Democrats try to link Maryland's Bartlett to Akin's rape comments

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Local,Maryland,Rachel Baye

Voters in Maryland's 6th Congressional District -- a seat currently held by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett -- are receiving robocalls linking the longtime incumbent to the controversial comments about rape made by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began making the calls in 20 contested districts across the country. The only district in Maryland to receive the calls was the newly redistricted 6th, which now includes parts of Montgomery County as well as Western Maryland.

Calls were also made to residents in Virginia's 2nd District, where Republican Rep. Scott Rigell is serving his first term representing part of Virginia's Eastern Shore.

"By now, I'm sure you've heard Congressman Todd Akin's unbelievable comments about rape and his outrageous beliefs about women's rights," the recorded call says. "You know what's even more worrisome? He's not alone."

The recording goes on to link Bartlett -- and the Republican representatives in the other districts where calls were made -- to Akin's beliefs about abortion and urges residents to call his office.

A representative from Bartlett's campaign did not respond to calls for comment.

The robocalls are the latest in a series of efforts by Democrats to link Republicans to Akin's comments, made during a television interview, that pregnancies resulting from a rape are rare. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said.

Last week, Bartlett released a statement criticizing Akin for the comments, adding himself to the list of Republicans distancing themselves from the resulting fallout.

"I have known Todd Akin for over a decade and consider him a friend, but his recent comments about rape are offensive and wrong. There is no room in politics for these types of statements," he said.

In Bartlett's district, the calls are yet another tool for Democrats seeking to unseat the 10-term incumbent. The district has become a heated battleground, with Potomac financier and Democratic candidate John Delaney vying for the seat.

Redrawn by the state legislature last year to encompass parts of historically liberal Montgomery County,the district has been criticized by both Republicans and minority groups as blatant gerrymandering and is the subject of a ballot measure going before voters in November.

But the Republican campaign said it was unconcerned about the calls' effects.

"It's obvious that Democrats want to do anything they can to avoid talking about the issues Americans are concerned about, like creating jobs and turning around our economy," National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said Monday. "House Republicans will remain focused on solutions to those problems, not this kind of partisan sniping."

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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Rachel Baye

Staff Writer - Education
The Washington Examiner