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Todd Akin's ignorant remarks yesterday recalled another political race where another Republican candidate managed to torpedo his chances. Clayton Williams was leading in the race for Governor of Texas over Democrat Ann Richards by 11 points in the polling in August, outspending her 2-1, and looked to be cruising to an easy win. He lost, narrowly, by 2%.

Ann Richards campaign ad in 1990

Williams is still around, raising $300,000 for John McCain in 2008. McCain later cancelled a fundraiser and returned the money though, as Williams's name is now political poison.

via The New York Times/Associate Press

The Republican gubernatorial nominee apologized today for an off-the-cuff remark suggesting that some victims of rape should ''relax and enjoy it.''

The candidate, Clayton Williams, had initially played down the remark as being a joke.

Women's groups and political opponents of Mr. Williams strongly criticized the candidate for the comment.

It ''questions his ability to understand the kinds of problems faced by the people of Texas,'' said Ann Richards, the State Treasurer and a runoff candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. ''Rape is a crime of violence.''

Mr. Williams made the remark on Saturday while preparing for a cattle roundup at his West Texas ranch. He compared the cold, foggy weather spoiling the event to a rape, telling ranch hands, campaign workers and reporters around a campfire, ''If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.''

Mr. Williams Apologizes

Later on Saturday, Mr. Williams said it was merely a joke and apologized ''if anyone's offended.''

''That's not a Republican women's club that we were having this morning,'' he said. ''It's a working cow camp, a tough world where you can get kicked in the testicles if you're not careful.''

Asked if some people might be offended, Mr. Williams said: ''I'm not going to give you a serious answer. It wasn't a serious deal. It wasn't a serious statement.''

But today his campaign issued a statement in which Mr. Williams said: ''I feel just terrible about this. I had no intention in my heart to hurt anyone, especially those women who have been traumatized by rape.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It wasn't that comment that did him in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patience John, Zornorph, absdoggy

    Williams continued to lead Richards in the polls for months after that. Richards only pulled ahead when Williams refused to shake her hand at a joint-appearance in October. As I just noted on another diary, I've always figured the lesson was that for Republicans, joking about violence against women is just dandy in the abstract, but you've always got to treat an individual lady like a lady.

    I hope I'm wrong about that. But I won't be shocked if Akin still leads McCaskill in the next poll, regrettably. (If this does sink Akin, just think, that'll be twice in a row that McCaskill won only because the right couldn't keep their bigotry under wraps!)

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:16:10 AM PDT

    •  True (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stagemom, TX Unmuzzled

      He made the comment in March but the campaign didn't kick in in earnest until later, and the comment was raised repeatedly by Richards and others. Williams also refused to shake her hand after a debate, which didn't go over well at all.

    •  Yea (0+ / 0-)

      It was how he rudely refused to shake her hand - claiming she was 'lying' about him. The man truly was a dick and not a very clever one. Supposedly. GHWB called him up after the election and cussed him out since he had a hate for Ann Richards because of the way she mocked him at the Dem Convention in 2008.
      Ironically, Richards herself got in hot water during her re-elect for what was considered disrespectful behavior toward GWB - referring to him as 'some jerk'. Don't think that was the only thing that did her in, but it was part of it. The lesson is to treat your opponent with respect no matter what you think of them. I think Rand Paul made a mistake not shaking his opponents hand, but at least he did it in a calm manner and he had such a big lead, it probably didn't matter.

      Language professors HATE me!

      by Zornorph on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:53:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Arlen Specter in 1992 was another (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        His opponent, Lynn Yeakel, was a political novice who made a number of mistakes, but outrage at Snarlin' Arlen's little performance at the Clarence Thomas hearings was still running high enough for her to have a big lead over the summer. Specter had a number of things to thank for his comeback, including a radio spot by Teresa Heinz - yes, the future Mrs. John Kerry -  expressing her support for him even though she disapproved of the way he'd treated Anita Hill. But one of the less-remembered incidents that helped him was that Yeakel also refused to shake his hand after a debate. He won with 49%.

        Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

        by RamblinDave on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:56:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the rape analogy to weather (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would be a fucking tornado.

    That dude should have to sit in the middle of a fucking tornado, and "relax and enjoy it"

    "A recent study reveals Americans' heads are larger than they were 150 years ago but sadly there is no indication that the extra room is used for anything." - entlord

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:24:55 AM PDT

  •  At least (0+ / 0-)

    At least, Williams thought he was telling a joke, tasteless as it was. Aiken was speaking during a TV interview and being serious.
    If Williams wasn't a dick for so many other reasons, I would have felt sorry for him over the joke dustup. I've told lots of tasteless jokes while sitting around 'with the boys' as it were. Despite being a fairly devout believer, I've told some Jesus jokes that would certainly disqualify me from ever holding office were they attributed to me.

    Language professors HATE me!

    by Zornorph on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:59:48 AM PDT

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