Afternoon Open Thread: Romney Calls on Akin to Withdraw from Missouri Senate RacePosted: August 21, 2012
Here’s a first.
Mitt Romney has finally screwed up his courage and taken a stand on something. With only about two hours to go until the deadline for Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race, Mitt Romney’s campaign has sent out a press release calling on Akin to quit. I guess the courage to appear in person and make the statement was beyond Romney’s ability. Here’s the statement:
“As I said yesterday, Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country. Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.”
Early this afternoon Akin said on the Mike Huckabee radio show that he is staying in the race.
“I said one word in one sentence on one day, and everything changed,” Akin said today. “I believe the defense of the unborn and a deep respect for life. … They are not things to run away from.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is threatening to withhold financial support from Akin.
NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh said in a statement that the campaign committee will continue to withhold its “support and resources” if Akin presses on with a “misguided campaign.”
“The stakes in this election are far bigger than any one individual. By staying in this race, Congressman Akin is putting at great risk many of the issues that he and others in the Republican Party are fighting for, including the repeal of ObamaCare,” Walsh said.
But Akin isn’t listening.
Akin reiterated his vow to stay in the race in a separate interview with conservative radio host Dana Loesch. “Let me just make it clear … that we are not getting out of this race. We are in this race for the long haul and we are going to win it,” he said.
Asked why he would stay in the race when prominent members of the GOP want him out, Akin explained to Huckabee that he believes he can continue to be a powerful voice for the sanctity of human life. Among those calling for Akin to step aside today: Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and several former senators, including John Ashcroft and Jim Talent.
The WaPo has a longer piece: Todd Akin should drop out of Senate race, Romney says. According to the article, Akin told Mike Huckabee:
“I’ve had a chance now to have run through a primary, and the party people said when you win the primary then we’ll be with you. Well, they were with us. Then I said one word and one sentence on one day, and everything changed,” Akin told Huckabee, an early supporter. “I haven’t done anything morally or ethically wrong. It does seem like a little bit of an overreaction.”
He then went on to liken his decision to a type of crusade. “We believe taking this stand is going to strengthen our country — going to strengthen, ultimately, the Republican Party,” he said. “What we’re doing here is standing on a principle of what America is.”
Akin said that his supporters and “good friends, closer than brothers,” had asked him to stick it out. He added that he has received “continuing calls from other congressmen” expressing their support. (He did not name any of these congressmen.)
A few more interesting reads to get the discussion started:
Greg Sargent: Get ready for Todd Akin Unbound.
Time will tell whether the GOP establishment will stick with its refusal to support him if he stays in. But either way, we’re now about to get Todd Akin Unbound. He no longer has to play nice, as the powers that be in the GOP define it; he’ s been cut loose by the GOP establishment, and he’s now on a crusade that seems to be taking on an element of religious fervor.
“We believe taking this stand is going to strengthen our country — going to strengthen, ultimately, the Republican Party,” he said today. “I believe there is a cause here.”
And if an unconstrained Akin does remain in the race, just imagine the implications for the presidential race. It was revealed today that the GOP platform ratifies a Constitutional ban on abortion that makes no exceptions for rape or incest. This might not have attracted much attention if it weren’t for Akin’s comments, which elevated the debate over abortion — and the rape exception — into a major national story. Now the GOP position on abortion is the Akin position. Indeed, Dem operatives are gleefully describing that platform provision as the “Akin plank.”
Meanwhile, national news organizations are highlighting Paul Ryan’s co-sponsorship, along with Akin, of various draconian anti-abortion measures, in the process tying Ryan — and the GOP’s stance on abortion — directly to Akin’s extremism.
Michael Tomasky: The Only Big Idea Coming Out of the Romney-Ryan Camp Is the Big Lie. Romney and Ryan are opening up new frontiers in propaganda–pushing big lies with not even a grain of truth in them.
These guys may not be able to count, but they can read polls, and so they know very well that if they gave the county the honest debate we were told we were going to have about Medicare, and for that matter about taxation, they’d wake up Nov. 7 with about 120 electoral votes in their pockets and conservatism in tatters.
They know this. They know that the truth would crush them electorally. And so it follows that they know they must lie. They must lie about their Medicare plans. They must lie about the effects of their tax plans on average people and rich people. And they must tell a number of lies about Obama, all the better if they involve race, as the welfare lie does.
So this will be the entire point of the Romney-Ryan campaign. Lie lie lie. Muddy the waters. Turn day to night, fire to water, champagne to piss. Peddle themselves as the precise opposite of what they actually are. That is clearly the m.o….
The Democrats’ job, of course, is to expose this charade for what it is and make Romney and Ryan defend their actual positions. The Obama campaign was a little slow to respond on Medicare, and even then the ad wasn’t as forceful as it might have been. It’s probably true that there’s a reservoir of good faith there—that is, most people simply aren’t going to believe that the Democrats want to harm Medicare. That should work to the Democrats’ advantage, but still, the Obama campaign and the Democrats generally have to nail these guys to the wall on what their actual positions are and what the impacts of their policies will be. Romney and Ryan are terrified of a real Big Debate. Obama and Biden need to drag them into one.
Boston Globe: Republican Party approves strict anti-abortion platform.
So why are they objecting to Akin’s position? Oh, right, because they hope the American people won’t find out they all agree with him.
Brown says the GOP should be a “big tent” party. Hahahahahahahahahha! That ship has sailed!