Mitt Romney conceded Sunday that fresh controversy over rape and abortion is harming his party and he accused Democrats of trying to exploit it for political gain. "It really is sad, isn't it, with all the issues that America faces, for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level," said Romney on "Fox News Sunday," trying to sharpen the presidential election focus instead on a weak economy.
An incendiary comment more than a week ago by Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP candidate for a Senate seat in Missouri, set off the controversy. In an interview, he said a woman's body has a way of preventing pregnancy in the case of a "legitimate rape." The claim is unsupported by medical evidence, and the congressman quickly apologized but stayed in the race.
It took a force of nature to bump Donald Trump from his role at the Republican National Convention.
As recently as Saturday afternoon, Trump was scheduled to collect the Sarasota Republican Party's Statesman of the Year award and then swoop down to Tampa for a day of wall-to-wall media interviews, meetings with top donors to Mitt Romney's campaign and then, apparently per the presidential candidate's request, a "surprise" publicity stunt on the convention floor.
But these plans went by the wayside after convention officials canceled Monday's events because of Tropical Storm Isaac.
"The RNC canceled Monday. Mr. Trump will not be in Tampa," Michael Cohen, Trump's spokesman wrote in an e-mail. "However he is still going tomorrow to Sarasota."
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he's backing Barack Obama in the presidential race. The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times. Crist left the Republican Party during his unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and is registered as having no party affiliation. He was elected governor of Florida as a Republican in 2006.
The few hundred protesters who had gathered under wet skies in a park about a half-mile from the GOP convention on Sunday said an impending hurricane that is supposed to dump even heavier rains on Tampa won't stop them from trying to get out their message that America's middle class is in trouble and needs to be restored.
As they spoke, giant blocks of ice spelling out the words "middle class" were melting on a warm, sticky, rainy day. Occupy protesters said it represented the melting away of the middle class.
About 50 of the protesters marched Sunday to a Tampa theater where the Faith and Freedom Coalition was holding an event. When police asked them to move, they did.