Today, during CNN's 1:00 PM Newsroom hour, anchor Suzanne Malveaux had senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, on to talk about how Todd Akin's appalling comments were affecting the Romney-Ryan ticket ...
At about the 3:50 mark, Malveaux and Bash switch from talking about the situation generally to helping Romney and Ryan create exactly the sort of distance from Akin that Republicans have directly told Bash they need to create in order to support their campaign communication goals.
Malveaux: We know that Romney and Ryan, obviously they're trying to focus on the economy & jobs, but now Republicans getting themselves caught up in this abortion issues. How much of this, Dana, do you think reflects the party's split, within the Republican Party, between the power of the fiscal conservatives, like a Ryan and a Romney, and the social conservatives, like, you have this gentleman [Todd Akin] who's running in Missouri?
Bash: It definitely reflects the fact that there are a lot of Republicans who have very strong anti-abortion views. And Paul Ryan is known as a fiscal conservative, but this has put a spotlight on his social views, as well. He certainly would never go as far, and has denounced the terminology that Todd Akin used, but he has supported some anti-abortion bills with him in the past. To answer your question, Republicans are very candid about it, that I've talked to, that this is very damaging to them. They've been trying to focus on the economy and they've been trying to get more women into the fold.
I just talked to two women who are down in Tampa getting ready for the convention, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who is anti-abortion, and a Republican who is for abortion rights, and both of them, both of them admitted that this is going to be very problematic for getting those swing voters. The other thing they pointed out, very interesting, is that women tend to be the last to decide who to vote for. That is not good if they don't separate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and other Republican candidates from Todd Akin."
Since when are Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney not also social conservatives? Particularly Ryan, who's never run as anything but a conservative on every measure it's possible to be?
More responsible coverage from around the nation today pointed out that Ryan has supported not just "some" anti-abortion bills with Todd Akin in the past, but all of the same anti-abortion measures during the time they've jointly served. Ryan even co-sponsored yet another bill that used the "forcible rape" terminology that he's now running away from as fast as he can with his recent declarations that there shouldn't be any hair-splitting over types of rape.
But no, Ryan is "known" as a fiscal conservative, a point Bash emphasized in her comments. So if he's known, to Dana Bash and Suzanne Malveaux, as a fiscal conservative, they're happy to help the Romney campaign, Marsha Blackburn, and a pro-abortion Republican who will remain anonymous, make that useful separation to win over independent women that everyone admits are really turned off by extreme social conservatism ... of exactly the type Paul Ryan built his career on.