POLITICS

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan differ on abortion

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Differences between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's positions - this time on hot-button social issues - were on display Wednesday as the GOP ticket found itself dragged into a debate over abortion.

PHOTOS: Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia

PHOTOS: Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia 17 Photos
PHOTOS: Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia

The vice presidential candidate emphasized anew that Romney is the nominee, brushing aside differences in their records.

"I'm proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It's something I'm proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration," Ryan told a Pennsylvania TV station.

Romney does not oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest or if it will save the mother's life, while Ryan does oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Since choosing Ryan as his running mate, Romney has been dogged by questions about how his own views differ from the Wisconsin congressman's.

Ryan is the architect of a controversial budget blueprint that would dramatically change Medicare, and after his selection Democrats immediately began trying to tie Romney to his new No. 2's plan.

The likely Republican nominee has said his plan is different, but largely refused to outline specifics of the differences.

Instead, he's emphasizing what he calls shared principles and insisting that Ryan joined the Romney ticket, and not the other way around.

The focus on abortion comes in the wake of comments from Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Asked in an interview aired Sunday if abortion should be legal in cases of rape, Akin said: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Ryan on Wednesday defended a bill he cosponsored in the House to permanently ban federal funding for abortion except in cases of incest and "forcible" rape.

That language, which was eventually changed, would have narrowed the exception for rape victims.

Akin and 225 other members of the House, including 11 Democrats, also cosponsored the bill. Democrats have seized on the bill and accused Ryan of trying to "redefine rape and remove protections for rape victims."

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