Republicans Take Legitimate Second Look at Backing Todd Akin

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 26 2012 3:47 PM

Republicans Take Legitimate Second Look at Backing Todd Akin

August 21 was the last day for Rep. Todd Akin to vacate the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, and allow Republicans to pick a new candidate. NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh issued a clear statement of disavowal. The party was walking away from the "legitimate rape" guy.

We continue to hope that Congressman Akin will do the right thing for the values he holds dear, but there should be no mistake – if he continues with this misguided campaign, it will be without the support and resources of the NRSC.
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September 25 was the last day that Akin could have quit the race and allowed a court to handle the process of replacing him. One day later, NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer switches up the boilerplate.

As with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November, and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.

"Monitor this race closely" is Washington-speak for "maybe spend money on it." Basically, Republicans bluffed and threatened Akin with a total cut-off because they wanted to replace him with a similar but less unpopular candidate. Akin, who owed national Republicans absolutely nothing -- even Sarah Palin endorsed somebody else! -- called the bluff. Now that the national spotlight has swung away, Republicans are looking for the least embarrassing way to help out Akin again, because it's tough to lose Missouri and win the Senate. Today's double-team Akin endorsement from Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint was part of that. So was Newt Gingrich's campaign swing. The margin between Akin and Claire McCaskill is only as big as a $500,000 Super PAC check from Foster Friess or Sheldon Adelson.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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