The Todd Akin/Claire McCaskill race in Missouri is turning out to be "a referendum on abortion". Akin is closing the gap with a late influx of money from "conservative" groups.
Amy Goodman reports:
But we turn now to one of this election cycle’s most closely watched Senate races in the country. It’s right here. It’s between Republican Congressmember Todd Akin, challenging Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri. It’s seen as one of a handful of races nationwide that could potentially help Republicans regain control of the Senate.Accompanying this narrative are reports of multiple arrests of Akins at abortion protests in the past.
Todd Akin’s campaign has been mired in controversy since his infamous claims in August that women rarely become pregnant from what he termed "legitimate rape." Responding to a question about possible allowances for abortion, Akin claimed, quote, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." The remark sparked a nationwide outcry and led to calls from Mitt Romney and other top Republicans for Akin to drop out of the race. Todd Akin has drawn further ire for claiming his opponent, Claire McCaskill, was more, quote, "ladylike" in the previous election and for comparing her legislative actions to a dog responding to a fetch command.
Well, a recent report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has drawn new attention to Todd Akin’s views on abortion. The paper reveals Akin was arrested at least three times during anti-abortion protests in the '80s. To talk more about Todd Akin and the Missouri Senate race, we're joined by the report’s author, St. Louis Post-Dispatch political reporter Kevin McDermott.Here are a few excertps from the interview with Kevin McDermott:
KEVIN McDERMOTT: Mm-hmm, yeah, and the polls do indicate some tightening in the race. We had a poll recently that showed just a two-point spread in McCaskill’s favor, which is, as you say, sort of amazing, given that after the comment she was up by close to 10 points in most polls overnight, after having been trailing. The way that he’s gotten to this? He’s gone back to his base. I mean, his base are the—what we call "outstate" in Missouri, which is, you know, some—in that land between St. Louis and Kansas City where you have a lot of small rural areas, a lot of conservative areas. This has always been Todd Akin’s bread and butter. These are people who, you know, believe in very limited government, believe in very conservative ideas about social policy. And even if they don’t necessarily agree with the specific comment that he made, the sentiment behind it, the really unaltered, unaltering opposition to abortion, is something that a lot of conservatives in Missouri agree with. He hasn’t been hitting that particular theme that hard. He doesn’t have to. Everybody knows where he is on this. Instead, he’s been talking more broadly about his opposition to big government. And, you know, that’s a chord that gets some response here.
AMY GOODMAN: The fundraising gap. Claire McCaskill has raised more than $14 million more, according to OpenSecrets.org. And a group that calls itself the Now or Never Political Action Committee announced on Wednesday it will spend $800,000 on TV ads to back Todd Akin for the U.S. Senate here in Missouri.Incredibly, the guy who made comments about if it's "legitimate rape" a woman's body will "shut the whole thing down" that were so egregious, even Mitt Romney and Republican Party abandoned him, is also the kind of guy that a goodly number of people in Missouri really like.
KEVIN McDERMOTT: He is getting some support, and he is getting some money from conservative groups. He’s been massively outspent by Claire McCaskill; there’s no question about that. But what we originally thought after the comment was that he would just be completely cut off, that he would—that he would be bled dry. And it’s not—it’s not actually worked out that way. He’s gotten some support, not official support from the party, but support from conservatives.
Such a voice and vote in the US Senate can only be bad news for women's rights in this country. Getting out the voite for Obama and for McCaskill in Missouri is essential.