WASHINGTON: Rep. Todd Akin, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and major supporter of Boeing’s F-18, has stumbled horribly in his Senate race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, speaking of “legitimate rape.”
Akin’s defense knowledge and experience in the House would have made him a likely shoo-in for a spot on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where the current chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces could have wielded significant influence on the F-18 and other systems. But Akin’s gaffe brought unusually sharp negative comments from senior Republicans about a race that could determine which party controls the Senate.
My colleague Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post reported that the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it was time for Akin “to reevaluate his campaign for Senate. ‘Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible,’ said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).”
Cronyn said “…over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service. Cornyn controls a large pot of money that could be crucial to Akin.
Amanda reported that Cronyn was not alone in slamming Akin from within the GOP. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who often leads the GOP’s efforts to defend itself on the Hill, called Akin’s comments “inexcusable.” Mitt Romney said Akin should “spend 24 hours considering what will best help the country at this critical time.” And two GOP senators, Scott Brown of Massachussetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin called on Akin to leave the race.
This could well mark the end of Akin’s dozen years on Capitol Hill. Note that Akin told Mike Huckabee he would not withdraw. With so many Republicans questioning him, and facing the prospect he might lose access to National Republican Senatorial Committee funds, Akin may well change his mind.