"Legitimate rape"

The phrase was uttered by GOP congressman and Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin in service of his contention that when women are really and truly raped, their bodies magically ward off pregnancy -- and it pretty much sums up the ineptness of the Republicans' 2012 message. Karen Hughes, President George W. Bush's longtime adviser, wrote furiously that if another Republican man talked about rape in such a fashion, she'd "cut his tongue out." Her friends' college-age daughters, she said, voted for President Obama in part because of demeaning remarks like Akins'. It's a meme that won't be going away soon; the Democrats will see to that. Can the GOP police its own to keep from bombing its chances? Will it? Above: Todd Akin addresses supporters during a campaign event on Nov. 3 in Kansas City, Mo. ALSO: Worst insults to women in 2012
Charlie Riedel / Associated Press
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