Republican Media Stars Cynically Beg Todd Akin to Quit

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 20 2012 4:54 PM

Republican Media Stars Cynically Beg Todd Akin to Quit

"I made a single error in one sentence," insisted Todd Akin today. Sean Hannity wouldn't accept that answer. Over 15 agonizing minutes on his radio show, Hannity beseeched Akin, again and again, to consider quitting the race for U.S. Senate in Missouri. His questions:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"Here's my big fear, congressman, if I could just be blunt with you. We're 51 votes needed to repeal Obamacare, hold the Senate. Sometimes an election is bigger than one person. To me, I am very concerned -- and I know many other conservatives are as well, because they have all written me today -- that if you stay in this race, and this becomes the defining issue of the race, and there is a timeline now in play here, that this could put the entire state of Missouri, this Senate seat, and even the top of the ticket, in jeopardy in Missouri... why I imagine that the issue in Missouri is going to be these words repeated again and again and again?"
"Have you thought that this could be the defining issue of the campaign, which would be a potential loss of a Senate seat?"
"I think for the next week, all you're going to hear from Democrats are your comments. Look, I'm a Christian, so I believe in forgiveness. I can just tell by the sound of your voice that you're probably very very sincere in your aplogy. But I also think there's a political reality. The reality here is that Democrats now have a ton of ammunition, and they're going to try and use these marks to hurt everybody that they can. And if I was put in that position, I would at least be thinking about what is in the best interest of the party, what is in the best interest of Mitt Romney in this case, what's in the best interest of Missouri -- are they going to hear a campaign about issues, or is this going to be a distraction to the campaign?"
"As this goes on, I think you're going to face some of the questions I gave you hear. What you meant by legitimate rape, what you meant by the female body to have ways of shutting this whole thing down. I think it'll be much harder than you think. I'm telling you just on a snap poll, just of conservatives writing me this minute, listening to me now, saying that there's so much at stake -- I'm reading one from a friend right now, 'this is bigger than one person, this will set us back.'" Will you consider that in the next 24 hours?"
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Shortly after this, Dick Morris -- the former Clinton strategist turned Republican pundit -- put out (of course) a data-seeking "petition" to get conservative activists united for an Akin purge.

Before Akin’s stupid comment, he had a nine point lead over McCaskill, the most of any Republican insurgent against a Democratic incumbent in the country.
But after his comment, he has no chance of winning. That seat could well be the difference between a majority and a minority in the Senate!

And the Tea Party Express put out a statement from its chair, Amy Kremer -- not mentioning that the TPX endorsed another candidate in the Missouri primary.

One of the lessons we learned in 2010 is that we need candidates who are not only conservative, but are capable of putting together a strong campaign against liberal opponents.  Akin’s frequent ‘Bidenisms’ are distracting from the important issues at hand.

You begin to wonder what the tone would be if it was legally impossible to take Akin off the ballot.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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