Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) – Vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan said Wednesday he is "comfortable" supporting Mitt Romney's less conservative stance on abortion after a Republican congressman revived the policy debate and defied conservatives like Ryan.
"I'm proud of my record," Ryan said. "Mitt Romney is going to be president, and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I'm comfortable with it because it's a good step in the right direction."
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His remarks suggest that despite his conservative voting record, the vice presidential candidate accepts the fact that he is running on the policies of the person at the top of the Republican ticket.
After Rep. Todd Akin claimed in an interview Sunday with KTVI that "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy, Ryan joined a chorus of other Republican voices and called Akin personally to urge him to drop out of the Missouri senate race.
The seven-term congressman told Pittsburgh station KDKA that Akin's statements were "outrageous, over the pale."
The Romney campaign released a statement Sunday saying, "A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in the instances of rape." But the statement did not reflect his running mate's conservative voting record in Congress.
The Romney-Ryan campaign says the Wisconsin lawmaker has long personally maintained an opposition to abortion in all cases except when the life of the mother is at risk. However, Ryan has supported legislation that would allow exceptions for pregnancy in the case of rape, incest, or when a mother's life is at risk.
Ryan defended a bill he co-sponsored last year with Akin and other House Republicans that bestowed "personhood" rights on fertilized embryos, which would allow states or Congress to determine the legality of abortions.
"That bill passed I think by 251 votes. It was bi-partisan. I think HR-3 is the one you are talking about. I think we had 251 votes, 16 democrats, I am proud of the pro-life record I have," Ryan told reporters Wednesday.
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