Politics
5:26 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Akin powers forward, Mo. Republicans and McCaskill navigate wake

Republican Congressman Todd Akin is highlighting his Christian faith while asking for help in reviving his Senate campaign.

A fundraising appeal sent Wednesday by Akin notes he has asked both God and voters for forgiveness for comments that women's bodies have a way of avoiding pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." Akin is continuing his Missouri campaign despite enormous party pressure to drop his challenge of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. In the appeal, Akin writes that the media, "Washington elites" and "party bosses" are all against him. He implores people to support his quote "conservative voice" with a $5 donation. The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the conservative Crossroads group said they would end their ad support if Akin stayed in the race.

The chairman of the Missouri Republican Party says Akin is threatening the party's chances of winning in November by remaining in the U.S. Senate race. Chairman David Cole said in a memo to members of the Republican State Committee that Akin's comments about pregnancy and rape are "not just a distraction" but "pose a threat to our party's chances of retaking control of the U.S. Senate" and could affect other Missouri races.

Among the few Republicans who have remained quiet about Akin's comments dealing with rape and abortion are the Missouri GOP candidates for top state offices. Akin is facing pressure to quit his race from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, national Republicans and five senior Missouri Republicans. He also has been defended by some, including Missouri Right to Life. But fellow Missouri Republicans appearing with Akin on the statewide ballot seem to have refrained from delivering public pressure or defense.

Meantime, Sen. Claire McCaskill is sidestepping questions about the plight of Akin. The incumbent Democrat spoke Wednesday before about three dozen veterans at a VFW post in the St. Louis suburb of Overland. She touted her record on veterans issues and criticized Akin's positions. But confronted by reporters after the appearance, McCaskill steered clear of the backlash over Akin's recent comments. Asked repeatedly about Akin, McCaskill would only say over and over that Missouri voters in the GOP primary had picked Akin. She refused to say whether he should stay in the race or get out.