A day removed from a deadline for Missouri Rep. W. Todd Akin to drop out of his U.S. Senate race after making controversial comments about rape and pregnancy Sunday, Democrats rolled out a list of 10 new speakers for their convention in Charlotte, N.C., next month — all of them women, and two who are leaders of pro-choice organizations.
Elected officials include Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is taking on former Gov. Tommy Thompson in a closely-watched U.S. Senate race, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
Others include Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund; and Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who became embroiled in the debate over the White House’s policy on insurance coverage for contraception earlier this year.
Rounding out the speakers announced Wednesday are former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth, who is running for Congress in Illinois; Denise Juneau, Montana’s superintendent of public instruction; Caroline Kennedy; actress Eva Longoria; and Lily Ledbetter.
Ms. Ledbetter is the namesake of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — the first bill signed into law by President Obama — which makes it easier for women to sue for equal pay.
The Republican platform committee approved language Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment banning abortions, including in cases of rape, incest or to protect the health of the mother — the same as the party did in 2004 and 2008. The language has received close attention this year, however, in the wake of Mr. Akin’s comments. It also does not square with the position of Mitt Romney, who has called for Mr. Akin to drop out of his race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and has said that though he is pro-life, he also favors an exception for abortions in cases of rape.
“They’re doing everything they can to shoot themselves in the head — it’s really stunning,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Previously announced speakers include San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who will be the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention; President Clinton; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris; former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is running for the U.S. Senate; Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts; Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.