As the deadline passed, McCaskill unveiled an ad (above) hitting Akin not just for his "legitimate rape" comments but for his opposition to Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage and student loans. Republicans, meanwhile, began lining up behind Akin. Some did so tepidly, like Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, who had previously been one of the voices pressuring Akin to withdraw from the race but now says, "Congressman Akin and I don’t agree on everything, but he and I agree the Senate majority must change. From Governor Romney to the county courthouse, I’ll be working for the Republican ticket in Missouri, and that includes Todd Akin."
Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint were more enthusiastic in their support:
Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate. Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage.DeMint's PAC may contribute to Akin's campaign, and Santorum's support joins fellow former Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee (who had supported Akin even as other Republicans tried to push him out of the race).
We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us so we can save our country from fiscal collapse.
Claire McCaskill has a powerful message against Todd Akin—even many conservative Missouri voters don't want a senator who'll oppose Social Security, Medicare and student loans—but she unpopular herself. With Republicans lining up behind Akin, however unenthusiastically, this is going to remain a real race.
12:14 PM PT: That didn't take long: