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8:19 am
Tue August 21, 2012

As Akin remains embattled, McCaskill calls her opponent 'sincere'

Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin today remains embattled but suggests that he plans to stay in the race for U.S. Senate.

The political firestorm caused by Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape,” pregnancy and abortion have prompted calls by Republicans for the Senate candidate to step down.

In statements and broadcasts yesterday, candidates lines up against Akin. But the incumbent Democratic Senator from Missouri – Claire McCaskill - wasn’t one of them.

Akin’s opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill has sought to brand Akin as a fringe conservative.

Yesterday she said Missouri voters chose Todd Akin in the primary and party insiders shouldn’t revoke that decision: “This is a man who is sincere. I honestly do have sympathy for him, ‘cause I think there is some big people in the party that are trying to pull the rug out from underneath Missouri voters—he won his race fair and square.”

McCaskill’s seat is considered by many to be the GOP’s only chance at recapturing a majority in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Missouri, says the McCaskill campaign has wanted the Senator to face Akin, and so far that’s been a good instinct:“Well certainly she thought he was the weakest of the three Republicans in the primary. And everything he has done since the primary has sort of reinforced her notion that he’s probably the candidate she can handle most easily.”

Squire also says the fallout from Akin’s comment will likely cause a ripple effect for political races across the nation:“Republicans will be put in the position of having to defend comments they didn’t make and probably don’t believe. Otherwise they’re going to have to throw Akin under the bus.”

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday released a statement condemning Akin’s remarks.

The Akin for Senate campaign has since issued apologies, and this morning has debuted a new ad entitled “Forgiveness.” See the ad on the campaign's You Tube channel, here: