Heading into next week's GOP convention, Republicans are finding themselves confronting controversies over Medicare and abortion — far from the issues they've been trying to highlight for months: jobs and the slack economy.

But Republican challenger Mitt Romney and ticket mate Rep. Paul Ryan have been unable to hold the focus where they want, try as they might.

Abortion leaped into prominence when Rep. Todd Akin refused to withdraw his candidacy for a Missouri Senate seat over his comments about rape and pregnancy — defying calls to step aside from Romney, Ryan and other party leaders.

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