Somewhat interesting day today politically.
As everybody knows by now, Todd Akin, the Republican from Missouri running for a Senate seat, stepped in it big time a couple days ago when he discussed "legitimate rape" and how women have magic missiles in their hoo-hahs which shoot sperm, thus ensuring they can never can pregnant from a rape.
There have since been calls from all quarters of the Republican party — and even pundits like Hannity and Coulter — for Akin to get out. Even Romney — not known to take a stand on, well, anything — is unable to support Akin now. Not so much because he has done anything wrong, but because he clearly can't win now (so they think).
But here's the catch. According to this Roll Call report, under Missouri law a party’s nominee may withdraw from the race before “5 p.m. on the 11th Tuesday before the election,” at which point the party would have 28 days to pick his replacement. This means that if Akin is going to drop out, he miust do it before 5 pm opn the 11th Tuesday before the election.
TODAY is the 11th Tuesday before the election.
The problem? Akin says he isn't going to drop out. The RSCC has said they will pull all money for ads. Karl Rove's PAC had some ads for Akin scheduled to run today — they have pulled those. He will run without money and without support from his party. Even VP nominee Paul Ryan has made a phone call. Yet, as of this morning, Akin insists on staying in the race.
Now, normally, this might not mean much. After all, it is one senator, and one state. But the Senate is so closely divided right now, that for Republicans to lose one seat means that they don't get the majority. And if Democrats get the majority, they control all the committees. Which makes a huge difference in what bills get voted on, what judicial candidates get approved (including Supreme Court nominees, if any), etc.
So today, watch for Akin news. Could be an interesting day.
UPDATE: PPP just published a poll taken last night showing that his race is still a dead heat, even though 79% of voters disagree with what he said (84% said they’d heard the comments [pdf]).
UPDATE #2: His ad today — he's really sorry.
Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize.
As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them.
The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.
In other words, Todd Akin is sorry that he sounded like a heartless dick when he explained why he doesn't believe victims of rape or incest should have access to safe and legal abortion (or, for that matter, emergency contraception). And he probably actually means it: Akin is smart enough to know sounding like a heartless dick isn't a good way to get elected, and he clearly wants to get elected.
UPDATE (2:35 pm EST): With less than 4 hours remaining, there's no sign that Akin is going to pull out. In fact, backed by the support of Kirk Cameron, he told Mike Huckabee this afternoon that he is in it still.