Obama tackles rape comments, "fiscal cliff" on TV talk show

BURBANK, California Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:02am EDT

1 of 4. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to host Jay Leno (R) as he makes an appearance on the Tonight Show in Los Angeles, California October 24, 2012. Obama is on a two-day, eight-state campaign swing.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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BURBANK, California (Reuters) - President Barack Obama suspended the levity during an interview with late-night TV talk show host Jay Leno on Wednesday to address a Republican Senate candidate's assertion that pregnancies resulting from rape are intended by God and to express confidence that Washington could soon address the looming "fiscal cliff."

"I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas. Let me make a very simple proposition: rape is rape. It is a crime," Obama said on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

"This is exactly why you don't want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women's healthcare."

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's comments that pregnancies caused by rape are "something God intended to happen" echoed across the U.S. media and sent ripples through political circles ahead of the November 6 election.

The Obama campaign, which enjoys leads among women voters in many election battleground states, sought swiftly to connect Mourdock with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This summer Romney had to distance himself from remarks by another Republican Senate candidate, Todd Akin of Missouri, about what he called "legitimate rape."

In an interview full of jokes about marriage, Halloween and other topics, the Democratic president made a few serious comments, mostly about the hottest topic of the election: the economy.

Asked about the so-called fiscal cliff - a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to kick in early next year - Obama said he was confident that a solution could be found before the end of the year.

"Solving this is not that hard. It requires some tough choices," Obama said, adding that some programs had to be cut and tax rates should go up for people making more than $250,000 a year.

"I hope that we can get it done by the end of this year. It just requires some compromise, which shouldn't be a dirty word."

On the economic crisis gripping the European Union, Obama said countries have been "kind of muddling along" and "they didn't respond as quickly as they could."

The United States is working with those nations to make sure they have a credible plan to maintain the unity of Europe, he added.

In a lighter moment, Obama joked about real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump, who recently posted a video challenging Obama to release documents about his education.

Trump has persistently questioned whether Obama, a native of Hawaii, was actually born in the United States, and Obama played off Trump's theories about his origins.

"This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," Obama joked. "We had, you know, constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn't very good and resented it."

(Additional reporting and writing by Lisa Lambert in Washington; Editing by Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (7)
RNBResearch wrote:
USA Presidential Election 2012

2012 USA Presidential Elections: Race to White House – Neck and neck but Barack Obama is marginally ahead.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney took their respective blue prints for America to key electoral battle ground with our poll suggesting that the white house race remains neck and neck.

It appears to be an induced bounce back Obama jumped ahead in our latest poll conducted from 24 to 27 Sept 2012 with 48 % of 1480 likely voters saying that they would vote for Obama. If 6th November elections were held now topping Mitt Romney’s 46 %, with 4 % of voters are still undecided which is within the margin of error.

The USA president is not chosen by popular vote. The USA has an Electoral College system with each state having voters in an electoral college in proportion to its population. The winner in each state gets all its votes. A presidential candidate needs a majority of Electoral College votes – at least 270 votes to become president.

Florida – 29 votes – The battle ground state of Florida with 29 votes is the most important of the eight battle ground states. Romney absolutely has to win this state. If Obama wins this state he is virtually assured of becoming president. Our latest poll suggests that in Florida State Obama is leading by 3% (Obama 50% and Romney 47%).

Ohio – 18 votes – is another crucial state where last 12 presidential winners have won this state.The state is called Supreme swing of the battle ground state. Out latest poll suggests that Obama is leading by 4 % over its rival candidate Romney. That gives Obama a lot of elbow room and explains why he is ahead in the race right now before 6 weeks of final call of presidential election.

The poor economy failure and unemployment (8.1%) is a great concern for Obama in this race. Only the fear for Obama is that one big demographic slice of America’s electorate could deny Obama a second turn as a president. White men up to an extraordinary 75 % of American Caucasian mostly males are likely to vote against Obama as suggested by our latest poll. This US election is gradually becoming multi-racial. Hispanics are the fastest growing coloured minority with 16.3 % of the USA population and are strongly backing Obama but the Republicans ace is the white male (35% of America’s population). This factor may only tilt against Obama in the last one week of the election – otherwise Obama may win comfortably in this USA 2012 Election.

Oct 25, 2012 6:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sensibility wrote:
“Solving this is not that hard. It requires some tough choices,” Obama said.

Yet he almost shut down the government in August of 2011, and the USA lost its AAA credit rating because of his intransigence. Not so hard indeed. Remove Obama and it would be a lot easier.

Oct 25, 2012 7:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BlueOkie wrote:
Who is running the country while Obama is going on talk shows? Laughing Joe? A campaigner in chief for sure. He might get more done if he was in Washington DC .

Oct 25, 2012 7:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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