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I caught a little clip on NBCnews today that illustrates how Orwellian and Machiavellian this election is. Joe Scarborough was pretty put out with Todd Akin today. Not so much because Akin was wrong (although Joe made it clear he thought Akin is wrong) but for how much damage Akin's remarks are doing to the GOP brand. Joe opened a segment about the GOP in general and Akin and later brought in Claire McCaskill. He baited her to be smug (she has a hint of a smile) about 4:45 in and then flat out asks her if she wanted Akin to win the primary around 7:26 in. (I'll try to embed the video)

I'm linking you to the clip since NBCNEWS clips don't embed well for me. Around 4:10ish Joe is reading from his phone that McCaskill spent $2 million in ads supporting Akin's primary win. I found the ad they are talking about:

McCaskill says:

                   Todd Akin is a true conservative, too conservative for Missouri
Somehow that ad is code for "Vote for Todd Akin". He's a guy that wants to eliminate the departments of education and energy plus privatize Medicare - and that's a plug for Akin? Ok, I admit it. I'm a liberal, but my GOP registered MIL would definitely be against Medicare privatization.

I went on a fact checking expedition and found the ads McCaskill runs and here's another one of them:

Ok, some spin, maybe words clipped out of context, but it's clear that she isn't supporting Todd Akin. Here's another one that expands upon the student loan angle:

It's the same quote, same scene and no, it doesn't promote Akin. McCaskill spent money against all three of her primary opponents, these are the ads against Todd Akin. Somehow the NYT spins this idea that by telling the truth about Todd Akin, Claire McCaskill selected her adversary in the November election.

Mr. Akin, who has a master of divinity degree, played to religious conservatives during his campaign.

But he was perhaps most helped by Ms. McCaskill and her Democratic supporters, who spent close to $2 million on ads that painted Mr. Akin as too conservative for the state, in a tacit effort to bolster his candidacy among primary voters.

Tacit effort to help Akin is the coded phrase. This Missouri piece asserts that McCaskill's ad purchases "may have helped the underfunded congressman".

Unlike his two main opponents, Akin was spared from millions of dollars worth of attack ads paid for by outside groups. Super PACs and politically active nonprofits targeted former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, who was endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and millionaire businessman John Brunner.
Similarly, McCaskill’s own campaign ran ads against all three Republican candidates. Notably, her advertisements targeting Akin called him “Missouri’s true conservative,” which may have helped the underfunded congressman. The move prompted political observers to note that Akin may be McCaskill's preferred November rival.
Outside groups came in and targeted Akin's opponents in the primary. McCaskill runs ads against all three and somehow she's manipulating her message to say to the GOP vote for Akin?

Is McCaskill right about Akin's conservative street cred? You be the judge:

Just to be clear here's Akin in his own words about the Morning After Pill, aka Plan B Contraception.

Akin on Don't Ask Don't Tell:

Here's a Todd Akin on democracy

Here he is on energy.

Akin's views on "Obama impeachment" don't include there's a clear lack of evidence of Obama committing high crimes or misdemeanors.

Todd Akin on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision.

Did McCaskill exploit Todd Akin for who he is and what he says? Why shouldn't she? She's running for U.S. Senate. Outside groups have run millions in attack ads against her since last October. Claire McCaskill told the truth and called Todd Akin for what he is a true conservative, too conservative.

Did Claire McCaskill's campaign do a Romney like cost/benefit analysis on how to best use her campaign finances? I would hope so, but I think the media is trying to scare up a story that doesn't really exist. Todd Akin is toxic. It's not like Claire McCaskill gave him a script.

Here's hoping that Missouri sends Akin home.

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