WILSON: Clinton, Akin hope books reflect them well, defuse poor word choices

Posted: Jul. 18, 2014 9:43 pm Updated: Oct. 10, 2014 11:15 pm

People sometimes say dumb things, and people in politics who say dumb things wish there was some way to rewind and delete their comments.

Two recent book writers, one Democrat and one Republican, are trying to do just that.

Hillary Rodham Clinton would love to take back, or at least reword, her comment about how she and Bill Clinton were "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2000.

Clinton was doing interviews about her book "Hard Choices" last month when she told ABC News that her family was dead broke and in debt when her husband's term in office ended. Never mind that the Clintons and their daughter, Chelsea have been able to command huge speaking fees. And books by them, or ghost written for them, have been worth millions of dollars in advances.

Last week, Clinton was on "The Daily Show" where host Jon Stewart mostly fawned over his guest, he did bring up her dead broke comment. Clinton said "that was an inartful use of words" on her part.

Other times Clinton has clarified that she and the former president were several million dollars in debt when he left office. The former president defended his wife's comments as "factually true" and said the former first lady is "not out of touch" with average Americans.

The real judge of that will be average Americans, who cannot conceive of the wealth and privilege the Clinton's enjoy. They may feel like Clinton's own words are evidence she can't conceive of their realities either.

Meanwhile, Todd Akin, the former U.S. House member who lost his race for the U.S. Senate in Missouri two years ago, has written his own book, "Firing Back." Akin in that book says that the media and members of the Republican elite "intentionally misunderstood" his comments about "legitimate rape" and cost him the 2012 race against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Akin now says that he "misspoke" when he talked about legitimate rape during a St. Louis television station interview two years ago. During an MSNBC interview last week, Akin said the term legitimate rape is a law enforcement term used as an abbreviation for "legitimate case of rape."

OK. So Akin says he was never trying to say that rape is legitimate, but that only solves half of Akin's problem.

"If it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down," Akin said in the 2012 interview.

Even if Akin had never uttered the legitimate rape phrase, he still would have been saying that women have little risk of becoming pregnant in rape cases. Later in that election campaign, after doctors and researchers almost unanimously said that women's bodies can't shut the whole thing down, Akin said he was wrong.

When MSNBC's Chuck Todd gave Akin a chance last week to correct any misunderstanding about that part of his previous gaff, Akin didn't bite. Instead, he talked about how "party bosses and Karl Rove and certain people" within the Republican party think that voters are "too stupid to pick the right person" in primary elections. That, Akin said, was what cost him the Senate election.

Akin closed out his recent interview saying he is not trying to get even with anybody in his book. He also denied he's ready to run for office at this time.

Apparently, he just wanted to clear up any misconceptions about his previous comments.


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