I believe it was one of my favorite Presidents, Harry Truman, who said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
I don’t know if Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has a dog, but he might consider it. Just about everyone, except for maybe a few staffers and relatives, have abandoned him after he said in a television interview on Sunday that, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Although the Democrats find what Akin said appalling, deep down they want him to stay in the race. They know that incumbent Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has a better chance of winning – and the Democrats have a better chance of maintaining a majority in the U.S. Senate. As you have heard me say over and over on this website, it’s all about winning the next election in Washington, D.C.
Republican leaders like National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Cornyn and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell publicly have been urging Akin to quit. I would imagine privately they are not quite as nice in their requests.
The Akin issue has caused many other Republican politicians problems, too. The Romney/Ryan team condemned the remarks and in Montana, GOP Congressman Denny Rehberg (who is running against Democrat Senator Jon Tester), quickly issued a statement (but not to this blog) saying, Akin’s remarks were “offensive and reprehensible.” Rehberg reportedly received a $5000 donation a while back from Akin’s “Takin Back America” Political Action Committee (PAC). Yesterday Rehberg donated it to Florence Crittenton Center in Helena, which is a center for pregnant and parenting teens.
That was a smart move by team Rehberg. They moved quickly to distance themselves from Akin’s sinking ship, and has probably kept his opponents from completely tying Akin around Rehberg’s neck for the remainder of the Montana U.S. Senate race.
President Obama also condemned Akin’s comments and in a press conference yesterday said one of the more important things about the issue, “So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”
Besides being a problem for Republicans in general, and throwing a wrench in their plans to take over the Senate and the White House and hold on to the House and save us all, Akin is a problem for the Romney/Ryan team – specifically Paul Ryan whose conservative views are more closely aligned with Todd Akin’s views. I would imagine that the “Opposition Research” folks for the Democrats and their supporters have already developed a list of bills they co-sponsored together, not to mention the meetings/trips they took together (if any). It might be quite interesting to see what they find. Here’s one of the first pieces of information published about Paul Ryan and Todd Akin.
Will Todd Akin drop out? We may find out for sure today, but if yesterday is any indication, he plans to stay in. Roll Call has a good article posted called, “Missouri: What Happens If Todd Akin Drops Out.”
Finally, we need to look at the polls! Public Policy Polling (PPP) conducted a poll last night and found Akin leading McCaskill 44-43. In May, Akin lead by one point, also.