Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, seen in a file photo, spoke Monday in… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)
The man trying to provide Rep. Todd Akin the softest possible landing after the congressman’s foolish comments about pregnancy and rape was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a strong supporter of Akin during his run to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate.
In the furor over Akin’s remarks and increasing pressure for him to drop out of his race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, Huckabee used his syndicated radio program Monday to give the embattled candidate a safe venue to express remorse and his determination to remain in the race. Huckabee also took the opportunity to cast the best possible light on Akin’s awkward position. The former Arkansas governor and onetime GOP presidential contender suggested a couple of cases in which he suggested that rapes, though “horrible tragedies,” had produced admirable human beings.
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“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”
Huckabee left the seminary in 1976 to become director of communications for the fiery televangelist Robison, who once declared he was “sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the communists coming out of the closet.” Robison called on “God’s people to come out of the closet” and re-take control of America.
After leaving the Robison organization, Huckabee went on to his own career in broadcasting and then politics. He continues on as a radio host and with a weekend program on Fox News. Huckabee had previously helped Missouri congressman Akin kick off his campaign and also cut ads for the candidate. In one, Huckabee declared that conservative candidates like Akin “honoring our creator” would “help restore our God-given liberty.”
Robison once told the Christian Broadcasting Network how he was the “product of rape.”
“My mother was a practical nurse and was raped by the alcoholic son of the elderly man she cared for,” Robison said. “It was a forced -- I don't think we would call it violent -- but he forced his affections on her, and at age 40 she conceived me.”
Robison told interviewer Scott Ross how he found out about his conception.
“She told me when I was a teenager, but she had also told this to a pastor and his wife who tried to adopt me when I was a baby,” he said. “They kept me for five years. I thought they were my parents, but I understood that I also had a mother who came to see me occasionally, so it was confusing to a child, but I didn’t need to understand. She took me from them when I was 5.”
Robison said he later had a violent confrontation with his birth father but that his adoptive parents helped him discover God and Jesus Christ.
“So here I sit as a product of rape, but I had an encounter with God,” Robison said. “The principles came into my life, not to make me perfect, but to got me in the pursuit of applying the principles. Look at the offspring: 11 grandchildren, three children, their spouses, and they’re happy. It works! The world needs to see something that works.”
After several years out of the limelight, Robison convened a meeting with other Christian leaders in 2010 to look for ways to oust Obama and end what he called the “assault on faith, family and freedom.”
Akin did not respond directly to the thoughts about Robison, as Huckabee quickly turned the conversation to ask the congressman whether his misstatements about rape and pregnancy would be fatal to his campaign.
Akin said he was not the only candidate ever to “suffer from foot-in-mouth disease,” adding: “The good people of Missouri nominated me and I’m not a quitter. My belief is we are going to take this thing forward and, by the grace of God, we are going to win this race.”