Romney accuses Obama of engaging in ‘low’ politics

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — His Republican National Convention curtailed by a threatened hurricane, Mitt Romney conceded Sunday that fresh controversy over rape and abortion is harming his party and he accused Democrats of trying to exploit it for political gain.

“It really is sad, isn’t it, with all the issues that America faces, for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level,” Romney said.

His comments came as aides and party officials hurriedly rewrote the script for the convention, cut from four days to three because of the threat posed by approaching Tropical Storm Isaac.

For all the Republican attempts to make the election a referendum on the incumbent’s handling of the economy, other events have intervened.

An incendiary comment more than a week ago by Rep. Todd Akin, the party’s candidate for a Senate seat in Missouri, is among the intrusions. In an interview, he said a woman’s body has a way of preventing pregnancy in the case of a “legitimate rape.” The claim is unsupported by medical evidence, and the congressman quickly apologized.

Romney and party officials, recognizing a political threat, unsuccessfully sought to persuade Akin to quit the race. Democrats have latched onto the controversy.

“Now, Akin’s choice of words isn’t the real issue here. The real issue is a Republican Party — led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — whose policies on women and their health are dangerously wrong,” said a recent letter from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party.

The party also posted a Web video that emphasizes the Republican Party’s opposition to abortion and digitally alters the Republicans’ “Romney-Ryan” logo to say “Romney Ryan Akin.”

Interviewed on Fox, his comments broadcast on Sunday, Romney said the controversy over Akin “hurts our party and I think is damaging to women.”

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