By ALEXANDER BURNS
8/21/12 4:12 PM EDT
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who yesterday was the first
sitting senator to call on Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri
Senate race, is now urging his party to take a more lenient stance on
abortion in its national platform.
In a letter this afternoon to Republican National Committee Chairman
Reince Priebus, Brown expresses concern that the official Republican
platform is set to include "language opposing a woman’s right to choose
and supporting a constitutional amendment banning abortion."
"I believe this is a mistake because it fails to recognize the views
of pro-choice Republicans like myself. Even while I am pro-choice, I
respect those who have a different opinion on this very difficult and
sensitive issue. Our Party platform should make the same concession to
those of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose," Brown says in the
letter, which was shared with POLITICO. "If we are to grow and succeed
in all parts of this great nation, we must be a “big-tent” party. There
are people of goodwill on both sides of the abortion issue, and we need
to send a message to voters that there is room in the Republican Party
for differing perspectives."
My colleague James Hohmann reported from Tampa
today that the 2012 Republican platform calls for banning abortion in
all cases and does not include an exemption for victims of rape. That
creates a potential challenge for GOP candidates in light of the
controversy swirling around Akin's comments on rape and abortion.
There's no Republican who has to play his cards more carefully on
social issues than Brown, who's running in a deeply Democratic state. In
his message to Priebus, the senator explicitly distances himself from
the official policy document of the Republican Party.
"The Party platform is, of course, not a platform for every
Republican candidate. In Massachusetts, I’ll be running on my own
platform, and focusing on how to create jobs and get our economy moving
again, strengthening our employer community by keeping taxes low and
reducing burdensome regulations, and controlling spending through
passage of a balanced budget amendment," Brown writes. "But the
Republican Party would be well-served to recognize in its platform that
you can be pro-choice and still be a good Republican."
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