Republican 1st District congressional candidate John Koster was secretly recorded speaking at a fundraiser in Everett over the weekend. The topics of conversation: rape and abortion, the latter of which the tea-party heartthrob had done his best to avoid discussing on the campaign trail. Perhaps now we know why.
Wednesday afternoon the poorly construed comments Koster managed to spew forth blew up in his face.
With Koster in a deadlocked battle with Democrat Suzan DelBene in the 1st District, Fuse Washington - a group of progressive political ninjas based out of Seattle - sent in a dairy farmer and friend of a friend of Koster's to get the Republican on tape about rape.
And boy did they get Koster on tape about rape.
The former farmer was under the impression he was speaking to a run-of-the-mill, fundraiser-attending supporter. Still, even if Koster was sitting on a milking stool in Arlington talking to himself, his comments couldn't have been much worse.
Here's the audio, courtesy of Fuse Washington:
In case you prefer your ultra-conservative hogwash in print, when asked by the wire-wearing Fuse agent if there's any situation in which he would agree with abortion, Koster offers:
"Incest is so rare, I mean it's so rare. But the rape thing, you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption and doesn't regret it. In fact, she's a big pro-life proponent. But, on the rape thing it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?"
Fuse agent: "Yeah, but she has to live with the consequences of that crime."
Koster: "Yeah, I know. I know crime has consequences, but how does it make it better by killing a child?"
If all is right in the world, "the rape thing" will be Koster's undoing in what's considered a neck-and-neck race in the 1st.
While the tea partier produced a press release by Wednesday evening in which Koster's campaign manager, Larry Stickney, states that his candidate has "nothing to be ashamed of" in the wake of the audio's release, and that Koster "clearly and honestly stated his thoughts on an extremely sensitive subject," the distribution of the comments sparked an almost instantaneous shit storm. A defiant Koster says in the press release: "Rape is a vicious and horribly violent crime, and no one in Washington state has been tougher on criminals and sex offenders than I have been, period."
Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest spokesperson Sara Kiesler is one of the many angered voices who say Koster's comments were out of touch and out of line.
"Politicians like John Koster should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions about her pregnancy. For a woman's life, he says he's not going to make that decision, but he'll make it when she's a victim of a crime or in any other circumstance, and that's absolutely wrong," Kiesler tells Seattle Weekly. "These types of comments are far outside of the mainstream of the average American and where they stand in regards to a woman's pregnancy decisions."
Because of her stance on women's health issues, Planned Parenthood Action Fund has already endorsed DelBene in the 1st District race.
"Ultimately, the decision shouldn't come down to a John Koster, or a Todd Akin, or a Mr. Mourdock in Indiana," Kiesler continues, noting the growing list of Republicans who've said incredibly insensitive and ignorant things about rape in recent months. "These decisions about a woman's pregnancy should be left up to the woman, along with her family and her faith."