Retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, is offering some advice to her party on her way out the door: “Stop trying to act like the woman is a throw-away.”
Appearing on CNN on Thursday, Hutchison joined the second-guessing after GOP losses in the presidential race and in other winnable contests, including Senate races in Missouri and Indiana.
Hutchison said Republicans have failed to approach abortion, contraception, and other social issues with a proper level of sensitivity.
“We had Republican candidates who got very high-profile and said some very stupid things,” Hutchison said. “I think that really tainted the party.”
The GOP Senate candidate in Missouri, Representative Todd Akin, said in a local television interview in August that he “understand[s] from doctors” that rape-induced pregnancies are “really rare.”
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he added.
In the Indiana Senate race, Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock said that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that he supports abortion as an option for rape victims, and he called for Akin to drop out.
But Romney maintained his endorsement of Mourdock, for whom he had appeared in a television ad, and he was linked to Akin by Democrats who noted that Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, had joined Akin in cosponsoring a 2011 bill that would have permitted federal funding for abortions only in cases of “forcible” rape.
Hutchison said her party should focus more on economic and fiscal issues, where she said she believes Republicans have an advantage over Democrats.
“People have personal beliefs, and what we need to do is fashion a party around the economics and the long-term viability of the economy of our country,” Hutchison said.